Birmingham's Commonwealth Games gives Brits a chance to reignite our common bonds

The Commonwealth Games in 2022 will give Britons a chance to celebrate after a dismal period of time endured with Covid-19
The Commonwealth Games in 2022 will give Britons a chance to celebrate after a dismal period of time endured with Covid-19

Britain deserves to celebrate and the Commonwealth Games next year will give us a chance to do that, writes Mercy Muroki

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After the year we’ve had, there’s nothing Britain deserves more than a reason to celebrate. We’ve been told to stay at home and barred from meeting friends and family.

One of the things many of us will be anticipating is the return of sport like it used to be, with crowds of spectators and customary celebrations in pubs and parks.

Covid-19 changed the way we ‘do’ sport. Footballers were left to play in empty stadiums and for the first time in history and the London marathon was not open to public runners. As we emerge out of lockdown, it will take us a while to relearn the art of coming together with our fellow Brits in the spirit of celebrating sport.

Team England players play beach volleyball during a demonstration at Smithfield, Birmingham City Centre. The Birmingham 2022 basketball and beach volleyball competitions will take place in the city centre location of Smithfield, Smithfield is the site of the former Birmingham Wholesale Market, which was cleared in 2018 and is the focus of a major regeneration plan.
Team England players play beach volleyball during a demonstration at Smithfield, Birmingham City Centre. The Birmingham 2022 basketball and beach volleyball competitions will take place in the city centre location of Smithfield, Smithfield is the site of the former Birmingham Wholesale Market, which was cleared in 2018 and is the focus of a major regeneration plan.

Which is why I couldn’t be more pleased that one of the biggest global sporting events returns to the British Isles in 2022 for only the third time this century: The Commonwealth Games.

Most Brits would be forgiven for ignoring these games - know I have. They’re often overshadowed by the Olympics.

Yes, only 72 nations compete at the Commonwealth Games, compared to more than 200 at the Olympics. But I can’t help but feel the 2022 games, being held in Birmingham, will feel that extra bit more special in the eyes of Brits, than the Olympics being held in Tokyo this summer.

The first Commonwealth Games (originally the British Empire Games) were held in Canada in 1930 as a way to bring together the countries of the British Empire in ‘goodwill’. It’s fascinating to think about how far we’ve come since then.

In 1930, my Grandmother – born in 1926, the same year as the Queen herself – would have been only four years old, and born into a country under British colonial rule.

It would be another three decades until my native Kenya would win independence from the British Empire. To think that just ninety years later, her granddaughter will be one of the faces of GB News – Britain’s News Channel – is testament to that progress.

I look forward to seeing Britain be, once again, the host of one of the biggest competitions in the international sports calendar. And I really look forward to seeing Britain enjoy itself like it used to pre-Covid.