The World Games have finally opened in Birmingham in Alabama after postponement last year due to COVID-19 ©The World Games 2022

Competitors from Ukraine have been given a standing ovation at the World Games Opening Ceremony in Alabama as host city Mayor Randall Woodfin opened the event by insisting that his city was ready to "Change the Globe".

The Games had been due to take place last year but were postponed by 12 months to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woodfin claimed that Birmingham was ready to stage an event featuring 3,600 competitors from 110 athletes competing in 206 medal events in 30 sports that do not currently feature on the Olympic programme.

"We embark on history, the legacy of our city that we know and love has been fighting to stand on one principle that legacy is unity," he told athletes and the 27,000 spectators in the Protective stadium.

"It is only right that the city that taught the world acceptance and freedom be the stage for this historic event.

"The World Games is just the beginning, we’re ready to put the world on notice, Birmingham is here and we’re ready once again to change the globe.

"Over the past few years, our world has seen so much division,but as I look out into this crowd, what I see is a world united, right here in Birmingham, I see a reflection of what the Reverend Martin Luther King dreamed of, World Games you are the legacy of unity,"

The Mayor had previously helped carry the United States flag into stadium at the end of a 44-day journey from Washington DC alongside military veteran Noah Galloway, honorary World Games 2022 co-chairman.

"It is great to be here in Sweet Home Alamaba,"International World Games Association (IWGA) José Perurena said as he paid tribute to the city for its support of Ukraine during the crisis.

"We thank Birmingham and all the spectators for their solidarity with Ukraine."

World Games organisers have promised to donate of one dollar from each ticket sale to help support Ukrainian athletes.

The team itself had been greeted by a huge roar and a standing ovation as they entered carrying miniature Ukraine flags.

"Our athletes will be a beacon of hope in a world often torn apart by intolerance and hatred," Perurena continued in Spanish.

"The World Games must serve as bridge-builders, the only walls you will see here in Birmingham are those used by our wall-climbing athletes."

Amongst those taking part in the parade were the "Haudenosaunee nationals," an alliance of first nation indigenous peoples from the Iroquois community who are set to compete in lacrosse, a sport developed by them.

The Ceremony had included an ode to the athletes entitled The Journey and spoken by poet Shariff Simmonds.

"The journey begins with a call, a natural strength of spirit blowing inspiration like a mighty wind," he began. 

"The journey speaks the language of the world every athlete hears it a clarion call to greatness,

"We gather here to determine once and for all who will be best, Here we gather to win to win the world

"Here we gather together to celebrate the journey."

The flag of the IWGA had been trooped in by six former World Games competitors alongside the  Stars and Stripes to represent the host nation and the Olympic flag to reflect the support of the Olympic Movement for the World Games.

Included in the colour party of distinguished athletes Vonetta Flowers, who won Olympic bobsleigh gold at Salt Lake City 2002, the first African American to do.

A huge roar greeted the announcement of her name.

The oaths were taken by jui-jitsu competitor Elioenai de Abreu Campos of Brazil, New Zealand’s compound archery coach Cushla Matheson, floorball referee Corina Wehinger of Switzerland and International Powerlifting President Gaston Parage of Luxembourg.

Each oath included the declaration, "Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without doping  without cheating, without, without any form of discrimination." 

A programme of music and dance with the theme "Witness History" told the story of the host city.

The performances included the theme song of the Games Hope of Alabama.

The Games are due to un until July 17.