The 2022 Commonwealth Games, also known as Birmingham 2022 took place in Birmingham, London from 28th of July to 8th of August. Birmingham was announced as host on 21st of December. The 2022 Games were the 7th Games to be held in the United Kingdom and England has hosted the Commonwealth Games for the third time following the 1934 London and 2002 Manchester.
Unlike the Olympics, only countries once ruled by the British Empire are eligible to participate in the Commonwealth Games. The game is a quadrennial event and was first held in 1930. It was overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) which is responsible for the sporting programme including deciding host cities. The 2022 Commonwealth Games was the largest ever held with a total of 72 participating countries and sold over 1.3 million tickets.
Australia topped the medal count by both total golds (67) and total medals (178), with host nation England finishing second by both respectively (57 and 176). Canada finished third with a total of 26 golds and 92 medals. This was Malaysia’s 14th appearance at the Commonwealth Games and has won 7 golds, 8 silvers and 8 bronzes- a total of 23 medals. Malaysian athletes managed to equal the achievements of 7 golds at the Gold Coast 2018, as well as improving its position from 12th to 10th place.
Malaysia’s proud powerlifter Bonnie Bunyao Gustin and squash athlete Aifa Azman were the country’s opening ceremony flag bearers. During the opening ceremony, the Malaysian delegation was represented by 40 athletes and officials wearing white baju Melayu and short modern kebaya featuring hibiscus, the national flower.
Among the 7 golds, two medals were from the weightlifting athletes Aniq Kasdan and Aznil Bidin. The para powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin won first place in Men’s lightweight powerlifting after ending Nigeria’s dominance in the event and created history with a new Commonwealth Games record. Ng Joe Ee, a young gymnast at the age of 16, came first in both Women’s rhythmic individual ball and Women’s rhythmic individual ribbon. Malaysia also defeated India by 3-1 in the mixed badminton team. Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan brought glory to the country by bringing home a gold from the Women’s doubles badminton.
As of 1 June 2022, Malaysia qualified for the mixed badminton team event via the BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Rankings. A full squad of ten players were revealed on 18 June 2022. Unfortunately, Lee Zii Jia announced his withdrawal from the squad on 23 June 2022 to focus on the World Championships. Ng Tze Yong was then announced as Lee’s replacement.
Ng nearly made it to the Men’s singles, after defeating world champion Loh Kean Yew and former world number one Srikanth Kidambi, but unfortunately fell to Indian star Lakshya Sen. Men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik were unable to reach the badminton final, settling for bronze instead despite being top seed.
Meanwhile, it was concerning that Malaysia did not win a diving gold medal. The national diving squad, who had won one gold in each of the last three editions, managed three silvers and one bronze medal this time.
Alongside the Games, an Esports event was also held. Malaysia was proudly ranked number one on the medal standings with three gold medals in eFootball and Dota 2 (Women and Open).
The closing ceremony was held and included the formal handover to Victoria, Australia as hosts of the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Malaysian athletes have fought hard to bring glory back just in time for the Merdeka celebration. Once again, congratulations and well done. Malaysia Boleh!
Written by: Isabel
Edited by: Poorani