The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games offers a healthy dose of sporting innocence

gGood evening and welcome to our live coverage of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony from Birmingham.

As you’d expect, the proceedings this evening have a distinctly local flavor, with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight producing the show, and bands such as Duran Duran and Black Sabbath featuring.

Over the next 11 days, more than 5,000 athletes from 72 nations will compete in 280 events in 19 sports. Cyclist Laura Kenny and swimmer Adam Peaty will be some of the main attractions for the local crowd, as will recently crowned 100m world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.

Games organizers say they are on track for record Commonwealth Games ticket sales.

We are on track as we sit here today to be the biggest Commonwealth Games in the UK, certainly in terms of ticket sales,” said local organizing committee chief executive Ian Reid.

“We have just passed the last edition (on the Gold Coast) and I believe this morning’s report puts us at around 1.3 million tickets sold and in the next few days we should have exceeded sales tickets from Glasgow (2014) as well.

“There is certainly a huge appetite in the city. We have one of the biggest sports programs so not all sessions are sold out, but history would tell us that there will be a huge consumption of tickets during the event itself, both online and via several ticket offices.

“So we very much hope that we will be at or near full capacity for the majority of sports.”

The host nation’s medal hopes were dashed on Wednesday when sprinter Dina Asher-Smith withdrew from the Games.

Asher-Smith had broken his British record to finish fourth in the world 100m final last week and won a bronze medal in the 200m.

But the 26-year-old stopped in the 4x100m relay with a hamstring injury which forced her to miss.

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