Keen in wattle green: Aussies lead the way as ‘Brum’ Games begin

Australian flag bearers, hockey and squash champions Eddie Ockenden and Rachael Grinham, were the first athletes to walk into Alexander Stadium as Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games began with a Brum.

Jul 29, 2022, updated Jul 29, 2022
Australia lead the athletes' parade into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the XXII Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Australia lead the athletes' parade into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the XXII Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ played as the team in wattle green were the first country to march into the arena on Thursday night for the 22nd instalment of the Games.

And Australia’s biggest contingent for a foreign Games – 435 before some late withdrawals – will channel those lyrics as they look to better the 80 gold won four years ago on the Gold Coast.

Ockenden is gunning for a fourth-straight hockey gold medal in Birmingham and incredibly hasn’t lost a game in his three previous campaigns.

Grinham has won eight medals, including two gold, ahead of a record-setting sixth Games appearance.

Before their joyous entry, the history of the city affectionately known as Brum was represented by a 10-metre tall iron-clad bull that was detailed in front of 30,000 spectators.

The ceremony told the story of Stella and The Dreamers, a group of young athletes from around the Commonwealth exploring the working-class city’s history of industrial innovation, struggles and success.

In a nod to Birmingham’s car manufacturing heritage, locals drove 72 red, white and blue vehicles onto the arena to create a Union Jack and welcome the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles had earlier met with athletes in the village, joking with members of the Australian team that “all the rest are terrified of the Aussies”.

He later declared the Games officially open, before Birmingham’s own Duran Duran closed proceedings with a medley of their greatest hits.

It triggered the start of an 11-day sporting feast featuring about 5,000 able-bodied and para-sport athletes from 72 nations competing in 280 events across 19 sports.

Aussies in action on Day 1 of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games:

Group Matches; Australia v Barbados (1400 BST, 2300 AEST) National Exhibition Centre

Group Matches; Australia v India (1100 BST, Fri 2000 AEST) Edgbaston Cricket Ground

Men’s Individual (Brandon Copeland, Jake Birtwhistle, Matthew Hauser) (1100 BST, 2000 AEST); Women’s Individual (Natalie Van Coevorden, Sophie Linn, Charlotte McShane) (1430 BST, 2130 AEST), Sutton Park

Morning session (From 1230 AEST, Fri 1930 AEST)

Men’s 400m Freestyle Heats (Elijah Winnington, Mack Horton, Sam Short), Women’s 400m Individual Medley Heats (Jenna Forrester, Kiah Melverton), Women’s 200m Freestyle Heats (Ariarne Titmus, Mollie O’Callaghan, Madison Wilson), Men’s 100m Backstroke S9 Heats (Brenden Hall, Timothy Hodge, Harrison Vig), Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 Heats (Emily Beecroft, Ellie Cole, Ashleigh McConnell), Men’s 50m Butterfly Heats (Kyle Chalmers, Cody Simpson, Matt Temple), Women’s 50m Breaststroke Heats (Abbey Harkin, Chelsea Hodges, Jenna Strauch), Men’s 100m Backstroke Heats (Josh Edwards-Smith, Mitch Larkin), Women’s 100m Butterfly Heats (Emma McKeon, Alex Perkins, Brianna Throssell), Men’s 200m Breaststroke Heats (Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matt Wilson), Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay Heats (Australia). Night session (from 0400 AEST) – Women’s 400m Individual Medley Final, Women’s 200m Freestyle Final, Men’s 400m Freestyle Final, Men’s 100m Backstroke S9 Final, Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 Final, Men’s 50m Butterfly Semi-Finals, Women’s 50m Breaststroke Semi-Finals, Men’s 100m Backstroke Semi-Final, Women’s 100m Butterfly Semi-Final, Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final, Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final Sandwell Aquatics Centre

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Mixed Team Event Qualifying Round 1 and 2 – Australia v Sri Lanka (Round 1) in Session 2 (from Fri 2300 AEST, 1400 BST) National Exhibition Centre

Women’s Tandem B Sprint (Jessica Gallagher, Caitlin Ward) Qualification, Semi Finals, Finals; Women’s 4000m Team Pursuit (Georgia Baker, Sophie Edwards, Maeve Plouffe, Chloe Moran, Alyssa Polites) Qualification, Finals; Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit (Josh Duffy, Graeme Frislie, Conor Leahy, James Moriarty, Luke Plapp) Qualification, Finals; Women’s Team Sprint (Kristina Clonan, Breanna Hargrave, Alessia McCaig) Qualification, Finals; Men’s Team Sprint (Matthew Glaetzer, Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Richardson) Qualification, Finals; Men’s Tandem B 1000m Time Trial Final (Beau Wootton, Luke Zaccaria) (From 1200 BST, 1900 AEST) Lee Valley VeloPark

Men’s Singles Round of 64 – Rhys Dowling (AUS) v Jason Doyle (SVG) (1215 BST 2115 AEST)


Men’s Team Final and Individual Qualification (Mitchell Morgans, Tyson Bull, James Bacueti, Clay Mason Stephens and Jesse Moore) (1800 BST, 0300 AEST Saturday) Utilita Arena Birmingham

Women’s Team Qualifying Rounds 1 and 2 (Australia v Malaysia); Men’s Team Qualifying Rounds 1 and 2 (Australia v Malaysia) (From 0930 BST, 1830 AEST) National Exhibition Centre

Rounds 1 and 2 – Women’s Singles Sectional Play (Ellen Ryan), Para Men’s Pairs B6-B8 Sectional Play (Damien Delgado, Chris Flavel), Men’s Triples Sectional Play (Barrie Lester, Carl Healey, Ben Twist), Para Women’s Pairs B6-B8 Sectional Play (Cheryl Lindfield, Serena Bonnell), Men’s Pairs Sectional Play (Corey Wedlock, Aaron Wilson), Women’s Fours Sectional Play (Kristina Krstic, Lynsey Clarke, Rebecca van Asch, Natasha van Eldik) (from 0830 BST, 1730 AEST) Victoria Park

Men’s and Women’s Preliminary Rounds – Men’s Light Welterweight Round of 32- Billy Polkinghorn (AUS) v Fabio Tyrell Liam Roselie (SEY) (1330 BST, 2230 AEST), National Exhibition Centre

Women’s Group Match – Australia v Scotland (1530 BST 0030 AEST), Australia v Kenya (2100 BST 0600 AEST); Men’s Wheelchair Group Match – Canada v Australia (1930 BST 0430 AEST); Women’s Wheelchair Group Match – Australia v Scotland (2100 BST 0600 AEST) Smithfield

Men’s Group Matches – Australia v Jamaica (1028 BST 1928 AEST), Australia v Uganda (1920 BST 0420 AEST); Women’s Group Matches – Australia v South Africa (0900 BST 1800 AEST), Australia v Scotland (1752 BST 0252 AEST) Coventry Stadium

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