Birmingham Commonwealth Games: 10 things you need to know, including what time and where to watch

We're just less than 24 hours from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and Newshub has put together an ultimate guide to New Zealand's charge at Birmingham.

When and where are the Games happening?

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place at Birmingham, England and kicks-off at 6am (NZ time) with the opening ceremony on July 29.

Competition begins on the same day in the evening, with lawn bowls and para lawn bowls first up in an action-packed day one.

The closing ceremony is scheduled for 7:15am on Tuesday, August 9.

Where to watch and follow all the coverage?

Newshub will be there for all the action, providing live updates of each day, each sport and each NZ athlete as the Kiwi team make Birmingham their home for the next two weeks.

Sky Sport and Prime will be broadcasting the event live, with replays and highlights throughout the day. 

You can catch all the action on Sky Sport, with six channels dedicated to the coverage, while free-to-air Prime will provide key moments, with an emphasis on Kiwi athletes. 

What sports to watch out for?

The Women's twenty20 cricket and the 3x3 basketball are making their first appearances at the Commonwealth Games, with New Zealand competing in both.

There are also debuts for 3/3 wheelchair basketball and para table tennis. The White Ferns will play at Edgbaston, with the historic cricket ground hosting the event.

White Ferns captain Sophie Devine.
White Ferns captain Sophie Devine. Photo credit: Photosport

Birmingham will also boast the biggest para-sport program in history, with athletics, cycling, lawn bowls, para-triathlon, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball all featuring. 

How many countries are competing? 

Birmingham will host the biggest Commonwealth Games yet, with 72 countries represented. New Zealand is one of only six countries to have sent athletes to every edition since 1930.

Who's the mascot for Birmingham?

Perry is the official mascot for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Brummie bull is "strong, kind and a little bit cheeky".

Perry the Bull.
Perry the Bull. Photo credit: Getty Images

The choice of a bull is a nod to Birmingham's historic Bullring Open Market and his multicoloured kit is in homage to the city's official flag.

Who to keep an eye on for New Zealand?

There are simply too many to choose from a 233-strong NZ team, but there's definitely a few worth waking up early for, or staying up late to watch.

Hamish Kerr is a real chance to claim New Zealand's first ever medal in the men's high jump, after finishing 10th at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

Hamish Kerr.
Hamish Kerr. Photo credit: Getty Images

He claimed bronze at the world indoor championships in March, and equalled his national record of 2.31m, which sees him ranked first in the Commonwealth.

Dame Sophie Pascoe needs little introduction, and stands as New Zealand's most successful ever Paralympian with 19 medals, over four Games.

Pascoe claimed four Commonwealth Games gold medals over 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley at both Glasgow and Gold Coast, but has scaled back her schedule to just 100m freestyle this time.

Tom Walsh heads to Birmingham as defending shot put champion, after securing his second consecutive Olympic bronze at Tokyo last year.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Walsh threw a new Games record in qualifying, before convincingly claiming gold in the final.

He finished fourth at the most recent world indoor championships behind an all-American top-three and is favourite to win gold at Birmingham.

Hayden Wilde has quickly become one of the world's best in men's triathlon, after only picking up the sport in 2016.

Wilde claimed bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, and is coming off two race-wins at the World Triathlon Championship Series.

Lewis Clareburt will be looking to better his bronze-medal finish in the men's 400m individual medley at Gold Coast.

Clareburt reached both the individual medley finals at the Tokyo Olympics and at the recent world championships, where he placed fourth in the longer distance. He will also be competing in 200m freestyle.

How are New Zealand represented?

The 233-strong Kiwi team includes 125 female and 108 male, with 19 sports represented and a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

NZ's opening ceremony flagbearers Joelle King and Tom Walsh.
NZ's opening ceremony flagbearers Joelle King and Tom Walsh. Photo credit: Photosport

That includes athletes with Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands, Fijian, Filipino, Chinese, Australian, European and African heritage. Māori athletes make up 20% of the team (46 athletes).

Who are New Zealand's youngest and oldest athletes?

New Zealand’s youngest athlete heading to Birmingham is 16-year-old diver Maggie Squire who is in year 12 at Auckland’s Takapuna Grammar School.

At 75-years-old, B2-B3 lawn bowler Sue Curran will become our oldest ever Commonwealth Games athlete.

Who is carrying New Zealand's flag for the ceremonies?

Squash player Joelle King and shot putter Tom Walsh have been named as New Zealand's flagbearers for the opening ceremony, with the carriers for the closing ceremony to be announced.

Nigel Avery is the New Zealand team's Chef de Mission.

How have New Zealand fared historically at the Commonwealth Games?

New Zealand have won 657 medals at the Commonwealth Games, since its inception in 1930. That includes 159 gold, which ranks New Zealand fifth all-time on the medal table.

New Zealand has hosted the Games on three occasions, including in 1950, when it was known as the British Empire Games. They last staged the event in 1990, in Auckland, which was also their most successful medal haul, with 58, including 17 gold.

Join Newshub for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games from Friday