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Sir Lenny Henry and other famous faces welcome the world to Commonwealth Games

Joe Lycett, Motsi Mabuse and Lenny Kravitz, delivered messages of support to the competitors as they entered Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

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Sir Lenny Henry and other famous faces welcome the world to Commonwealth games (Comic Relief/PA)

Sir Lenny Henry and other famous faces welcome the world to Commonwealth games (Comic Relief/PA)

Sir Lenny Henry and other famous faces welcome the world to Commonwealth games (Comic Relief/PA)

Sir Lenny Henry introduced the world to “The Great Nation of Dudley” as he kicked off the 2022 Commonwealth games athlete’s parade in Birmingham.

A cast of other famous faces including Joe Lycett, Motsi Mabuse and US rock star Lenny Kravitz, delivered virtual messages of support to the competitors as they entered the Alexander Stadium on Thursday night.

Wearing a red suit and trainers, British actor Sir Lenny joked that he had been “training for this all week” as he began the parade.

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Joe Lycett, Motsi Mabuse and Lenny Kravitz, delivered messages of support to the competitors as they entered Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Joe Lycett, Motsi Mabuse and Lenny Kravitz, delivered messages of support to the competitors as they entered Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Joe Lycett, Motsi Mabuse and Lenny Kravitz, delivered messages of support to the competitors as they entered Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I’m exhausted. I’ve been training for this all week. Have you had a nice time so far?” he asked the 30,000 spectators gathered in the arena.

“What an opening ceremony, I’ve had the wrong kind of mushrooms on my toast this morning.”

He continued: “You are all fantastic by the way… all your little faces smiling at me; black, brown, pink, white, sunburnt from last week.”

Attempting a Glastonbury festival-style call and response, he said: “let me here you say woah! Yeah! Lenny get on with it because they want to start the show now!”

Sir Lenny later returned to the stage to introduce the European athletes, declaring “Without further ado, please welcome the Great Nation of Dudley, twinned with Wakanda… if only.

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Comedian Lycett declared himself as ‘Birmingham’s answer to Sporty Spice’ as he introduced athletes from Asia (PA)

Comedian Lycett declared himself as ‘Birmingham’s answer to Sporty Spice’ as he introduced athletes from Asia (PA)

Comedian Lycett declared himself as ‘Birmingham’s answer to Sporty Spice’ as he introduced athletes from Asia (PA)

“Let’s do this, please welcome my friends, Europe.”

Comedian Lycett declared himself as “Birmingham’s answer to Sporty Spice” as he introduced athletes from Asia.

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“I’m thrilled to be here next to all these pyrotechnics in this highly flammable outfit,” he said, dressed in a frilly pink and white tracksuit.

“I’m going to do something now that the British government doesn’t always do, and welcome some foreigners and welcome the region of Asia.”

As the athletes entered the arena a string of virtual messages were played.

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Strictly Come Dancing judge Mabuse said in a video message she would be cheering on South African teams on ‘every step of the way’ during the games (Jonathan Hordle/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Mabuse said in a video message she would be cheering on South African teams on ‘every step of the way’ during the games (Jonathan Hordle/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Mabuse said in a video message she would be cheering on South African teams on ‘every step of the way’ during the games (Jonathan Hordle/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Mabuse said in a video message she would be cheering on South African teams on “every step of the way” during the games.

“I want to send all of my love and support to all of the South African teams competing there in Birmingham.

“I will be watching, I will be cheering you on every single step of the way, go out there and smash it, and remember – keep winning.

“Come on South Africa!”

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The opening ceremony closed with a bang and a short setlist from Birmingham band Duran Duran (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The opening ceremony closed with a bang and a short setlist from Birmingham band Duran Duran (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The opening ceremony closed with a bang and a short setlist from Birmingham band Duran Duran (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Kravitz said those gathered at the Alexander Stadium were “letting love rule” as he wished the Bahamian Commonwealth athletes luck for the games.

“All the people at the games in Birmingham are letting love rule tonight, and to all of the athletes representing the Bahamas, I wish you the best of luck for the games,” he said in a video message.

“It’s time for you to shine on the biggest stage, and show the world how we do it. Peace and good luck.”

Sir Mo Farah also sent a virtual message of encouragement to the English Commonwealth athletes, telling them to “cherish” the experience of the games.

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Sir Mo Farah also sent a virtual message of encouragement to the English Commonwealth athletes, telling them to ‘cherish’ the experience of the games (Martin Rickett/PA)

Sir Mo Farah also sent a virtual message of encouragement to the English Commonwealth athletes, telling them to ‘cherish’ the experience of the games (Martin Rickett/PA)

Sir Mo Farah also sent a virtual message of encouragement to the English Commonwealth athletes, telling them to ‘cherish’ the experience of the games (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Hi guys it’s Mo here, just wanted to send you a quick message for team England.

“Go out there, be strong and do the best that you can and enjoy it, because when the home crowd gets behind you it’s a massive boost.

“Cherish that and let’s have a beautiful games – good luck guys.”

It comes shortly after the release of Sir Mo’s revelatory BBC documentary in which he discussed the traumatic events of his arrival to the UK as a child.

The Commonwealth opening ceremony closed with a bang and a short setlist from Birmingham band Duran Duran.

Frontman Simon Le Bon sang hits such as Ordinary World, Save A Prayer and Tonight United with a vibrant firework display in the background.


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