Years of waiting and preparation come to an end today as the 22nd  Commonwealth Games begin in Birmingham.

Regarded as the second-largest city in the UK with a population of approximately 4.3m, Birmingham   is hosting what is set to be the most expensive sporting event in the UK since the 2012 Summer Olympics in London which cost £8.8 billion.

Meanwhile, Nigeria will be making her  15th  appearance at the games since its debut in 1950 when Joshua Majekodunmi won the country’s  first medal in the High Jump event in Auckland, New Zealand. In Birmingham, the  94-man contingent will be aiming to exceed the country’s best outing at the 1994 Games in Victoria, Canada where Team Nigeria  amassed 11 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze medals.

Some 72 Commonwealth of nations will be competing in 20 sports while the opening ceremony today will take place at Alexander Stadium.

According to the Director Iqbal Khan, the ceremony would aim to showcase the “vivid and vibrant confidence” of Birmingham.

It is to be headlined by Birmingham-based new wave band Duran Duran, while Tony Lommi of Black Sabbath–who is also a Birmingham native–will perform alongside Soweto Kinch during a segment of the ceremony.

A new edition of the Commonwealth Games Charter comes into effect in Birmingham and in addition to the 10 core sports that were part of Gold Coast 2018 — athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball (for women), rugby sevens, squash, swimming and weightlifting — five new sports will be integrated into this category: road cycling, judo (previously optional), triathlon, table tennis, and wrestling.

The games charter also mandates that a number of para sports events (i.e. sports for elite athletes with disabilities) must be integrated within four core sports: athletics, lawn bowls, swimming and weightlifting (the lattermost is actually represented by a variation of powerlifting).

For the first time in the history of the games, e-sports would be included as a demonstration event and is in a possibility to be added to the games programme at the future editions.

At Birmingham 2022, there will be 280 finals played across 20 sports and another difference from 2018 is that the number of events for women (136) will be higher than for men (134), an unprecedented marker amongst major multi-sport events.

In addition, 10 mixed events will be contested and the number of para-sport events have  also increased from 36 to 39, including the first wheelchair basketball tournament in Games history. In addition, some sports have had their events changed, such as the replacement of basketball with 3×3 basketball.