Commonwealth Games handover to ‘showcase Birmingham’

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Media captionWatch: Birmingham’s brilliant closing ceremony show

Birmingham has hosted a huge celebration event as it welcomed taking on the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The official handover took place at a closing ceremony for the 2018 games on Australia’s Gold Coast in front of a TV audience of up to one billion.

As the flag was handed over to Lord Mayor Anne Underwood on Sunday, Victoria Square erupted into colour.

Commonwealth Games handover to ‘showcase Birmingham’
Commonwealth Games handover to ‘showcase Birmingham’

Organisers said the performance showed Birmingham’s “youth, diversity and talent”.

Dressed in multi-coloured outfits, about 2,000 dancers delivered different routines including break-dance, ballet and modern moves.

Drag queens stood on a tropically-transformed ‘Floozie in the Jacquzzi’ fountain while live performances were mixed with pre-recorded raps, chats and celebrations which concluded in a sea of yellow and purple confetti which was pumped through the air.

Image copyrightBirmingham 2022
Image caption Performers were part of the huge event in the city centre

Birmingham 2022 organisers said the celebration was “an opportunity to share this amazing city with the world”.

Crowds gathered for the event near the council house, which had been adorned in luxury red and gold trim curtains.

Tina El-Jamal, 57, her daughter Elise Sharpe, 15, along with Ruth Hammersley, 63 and Calisto Mitto, 11, travelled from Sheffield to see performance.

Ms El-Jamal said: “I can’t believe its actually happening here. The city should be so proud.”

Ms Mitto said: “I’m very excited to be here. I’ve never been to anything like this before.”

Elise added: “I’m impressed how Birmingham is going to host all the events, from the basketball to beach volleyball – it won’t be like Australia but I’m sure it’ll be very special.”

Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Anne Underwood, who is at the closing ceremony in Australia, told the crowds in a video message: “We are a very young and diverse city – we will showcase our city’s youth and diversity.”

Cheers erupted as the chief organiser of the 2018 games spoke of its legacy and the future of the games in Birmingham.

Accompanying the dancers was a film made by Daniel Alexander from Oldbury, West Midlands, and a performance from Erdington-based singer Lady Sanity.

The singer, who performed to an audience of 40,000 at the Gold Coast’s Carrara Stadium as well as TV audiences around the Commonwealth, said it was “a wonderful opportunity to showcase myself and showcase my city”.

Image caption Lord Mayor Anne Underwood said Birmingham is a “young and diverse city”

Culture Central, which organised the “mass participation dance”, recruited 2,022 young people to perform live in the city centre for the handover.

Chief executive Gary Topp said the performance told “the story of a city that is young, that is diverse, it’s full of talent, it’s got energy and that’s really looking forward to its future”.

Performer and poet Amerah Saleh added: “I’m absolutely over the moon. The ceremony really showed what Birmingham is about and showcased the city.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Labour councillor Ian Ward, said: “The stage is now set for Birmingham to really show its youth, vibrancy and diversity.

“We have seen a flavour of this in the ceremony, but more is still to come. We will keep the momentum up for the next four years. Birmingham should be really proud of itself.”

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