Birmingham gives Games a rousing send off

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The Birmingham Commonwealth Games reached a high-octane conclusion on Monday by celebrating 11 days of compelling competition and sending the multi-sport event back to Australia in 2026 with new relevance and purpose.

Certainly Birmingham had plenty of reason to party having come to the Games’ rescue on short notice after Durban, South Africa was stripped of them and delivered what by almost every standard was a hugely successful event.

More than 1.5 million tickets were sold as spectators packed into venues, creating a buzz across the West Midlands that officials say will linger for years and could lead to a possible Olympic bid in the future.

“These Games have been bold, buzzing and absolutely brilliant,” Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin told a capacity crowd at Alexander Stadium during the closing ceremonies.

“Athletes 11 days ago I asked you to seize the moment – with 877 medals awarded, 97 Commonwealth records and four world records broken you all rose to the challenge.

“As we bring these Games to a close please remember this is not the end.”

WOMEN’S EVENTS

For the first time at a major multi-sport event there were more medal events for women (136) than men (134) at the Commonwealth Games and a record eight integrated para-sports with podium finishes counting in the overall medal standings.

Australia, which will be hosting the Games for the third time in the last six editions in 2026, once again topped the medal table with 67 gold and an overall haul of 178.

England kept it close right down to the final day of competition but fell just short with 176 total medals and 57 gold.

While many of the sports lacked depth that was not the case in the pool.

Having brought their A Team of Olympic champions and world record holders to Birmingham, the Australians won nearly half (65) of the 156 total medals on offer, including 25 of the 52 golds.

Hosts England had plenty to cheer as well with gymnast Jake Jarman collecting four golds and swimmer Adam Peaty rebounding from a disappointing loss in his signature event the 100 metres breast stroke to win the 50m.

CRICKET DEBUT

Nowhere was there more energy than at Edgbaston Stadium where women’s cricket made its Games debut to rave reviews as top-ranked Australia grabbed gold with a win over India.

OLDEST GOLD MEDALLIST

George Miller became the oldest gold medallist in the history of the Commonwealth Games when the 75-year-old helped Scotland to victory in the B2/B3 mixed pairs bowls.