The Commonwealth Games begin in Birmingham this Thursday but when is the opening ceremony and who is performing?
THE UK is in the midst of a huge sporting summer.
While the Women's Euros are still in full swing – that competition is about to be joined by the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
With the Games' baton now having passed through most parts of the UK on its way to the Midlands, it is now the turn of the games to actually get started.
Here's all you need to know about the 11 days of competition that begin after the opening ceremony on Thursday night.
When do the Commonwealth Games start?
The 2022 Commonwealth Games begin on Thursday, with the opening ceremony, and run until Monday, 8th August.
Who is taking part?
Almost 7,000 competitors and officials are headed for the games and they will compete in 19 sports and eight para-sports.
More than 280 different event medals are up for grabs with 72 nations and territories entering.
Alongside being the first time that Paralympic and non-Paralympic sports have been run alongside each other in this major competition, T20 Women's Cricket is also being introduced to the Games for the first time alongside 3x3 basketball and 3x3 wheelchair basketball.
What about the opening ceremony?
The opening ceremony is scheduled to get under way at around 7pm on Thursday evening and will be shown live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
The event, at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium, is set to be watched by more than 30,000 people inside alongside an expected global television audience of a billion. The ceremony itself usually lasts between two and two-and-a-half hours.
While the Queen has attended previous opening ceremonies, Buckingham Palace has confirmed the 96-year-old won't be there this time and will instead be represented by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, alongside Prince Edward who is part of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Who is performing on Thursday night?
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is the creative director behind the entire ceremony, which will also mark the end of the road for the Queen's Baton Relay as that reaches its final destination having been carried through all 72 nations and territories since last year.
Duran Duran is the headline musical act for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, as it's being held in the band's home city.
Band frontman Simon Le Bon said: “The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a momentous event for the great city of Birmingham. And we in Duran Duran are honoured to be a part of it in our home town."
Expected to perform four songs at the end of the night, the band will be the last to take to the stage.
Also among the line-up is Birmingham-born Tony Iommi, guitarist and co-founder of Black Sabbath.
Mezzo-soprano and Birmingham Conservatoire graduate Samantha Oxborough will perform the national anthem as part of the formal opening, supported by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and musicians from the Royal Marines.
A choir of more than 700 singers, drawn from 15 choirs from across the West Midlands, will also be involved in the event, which is expected to see all the teams and their athletes walk out to mark the start of the games in the Commonwealth Games Parade of Nations.
When do competitions start?
Friday will mark day one of sporting competitions and there will be no shortage of action.
Cycling, gymnastics, rugby sevens, netball, swimming and the triathlon for both men and women are among the sports to get started on the first day.
In total around 14 sports will begin their opening rounds on Friday, 29th July challenging for 16 gold medals.
For anyone who wants to stay firmly up-to-date with all the results, rounds and action – there is an official Commonwealth Games 2022 app that is now available to download that will deliver all the details direct to your smart device.
What happens when the games finish?
After more than 10 days of competitions, the closing ceremony happens on Monday 8th August on the last day of events and will signal the end of the games. It will take place back at the city's Alexander Stadium and should begin at 8.30pm.
Alongside reuniting all athletes it will see the UK hand over the games to next hosts Australia, which will put on the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.