The most striking uniforms at Commonwealth Games 2022: from Tonga to South Africa

Birmingham is playing host to one of the biggest sporting events, which is held every four years

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More than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries and territories have landed in the English city of Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.

Held every four years, one of the world's biggest athletics gatherings after the Olympics will take place across 11 days, with competitions in 19 sports and 280 medal events.

Prince Charles inaugurated the event on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday and said the games "reminds us of our connection with one another ... as a family of nations". Commonwealth states were originally mostly former British Empire colonies but today that condition is not needed for new members.

Scroll through the gallery above for some of most striking team uniforms at the Commonwealth Games

Birmingham band Duran Duran also performed at the ceremony, which also included a speech by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in 2012 after she was shot in the head by the Taliban aged 15.

Representatives from each of the countries turned out in their finest gear at Alexander Stadium for the opening ceremony, put together by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.

Host country Team England wore bright red jackets by Scottish fashion designer Patrick Grant. The outfits were created by Grant's sustainable fashion brand Community Clothing and featured lines from boxer Matt Windle's poem Bring It!, which he composed especially for the Games.

The jackets also featured patches created by various artists across England, with each athlete given the freedom to use them to customise their own looks.

Standout looks also came via Team Scotland who wore kilts to the ceremony. Created by Scottish designer Siobhan Mackenzie, the tartan design was a nod to colours synonymous with both Team Scotland and the games.

β€œIt’s a contemporary take on tradition and, importantly, is made in Scotland using traditional methods," Mackenzie told STV when the outfits were first revealed last month.

Team Scotland take part in the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium. Getty Images

The Scots were not the only ones in skirts. Team Tonga also wore traditional tassled pieces while their flagbearer, rugby captain Sione Tupou, looked set to recreate the stir caused by fellow athlete Pita Taufatofua at the Tokyo Olympics. Taufatofua became a viral sensation when he walked into the ceremony shirtless, inspiring thousands of memes.

Team Tonga let by rugby captain Sione Tupou and weightlifter Kuinini Manumua. AP

South Africa, which was initially meant to host the Games in Durban, but pulled out citing financial problems, also stood out with its athletes' looks on Thursday night.

Working with a team of young designers such as Sandile Sikhakhane, Mbali Zulu, Sipho Lushaba and Nompumelelo Mjadu, the uniforms were created to showcase "all things South African", including the discovery of diamonds, South African royalty and the colours of the country's flag, the countries sports federation said.

Team South Africa at the ceremony. Getty Images

"Tonight teams from 72 countries and territories join the people of Birmingham to celebrate friendship across borders," Yousafzai said during her speech at the opening ceremony.

"The young athletes who will compete over the next few weeks represent millions of girls and boys across the commonwealth β€” our shared hope for the future."

Prince Charles praises inspirational athletes as Commonwealth Games begins β€” in pictures

Updated: July 29, 2022, 10:29 AM
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