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The opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, held on the Gold Coast of Australia, is now only hours away. Find out why this year looks set to the best ever. 

4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories will compete over the next 12 days, using 17 venues and representing more than 2.4 billion, nearly a third of the world's population. These numbers tell just part of the story though. 

This games is set to be the most gender-equal multi-sport event in history. Seven new events have been added for women in cycling, weightlifting, and boxing, to bring the number of events for men and women to 133 each, plus nine mixed events. Together, they amount to 275 chances to claim gold.

This step forward in gender equality is matched by a huge increase in para-sports events at this games, with 45% more para-athletes scheduled to compete in Australia than at Glasgow in 2014. The decision to hold para-sports as part of the main programme at the Commonwealth Games, unlike the Olympics, means that para-athletes are given equal standing to their able-bodied counterparts.

Together, the progress made in these two areas will be the Gold Coast Games the most extensive and inclusive ever. 

If you're in the club today, make sure to head to the Duke of York Bar, where we will be screening the opening ceremony from 11.30am.

To celebrate all things sporting, the next edition of Overseasdue out at the end of May, will be themed on sport. Features will include a look at para-skiing in Canada, an interview with Darren Hall, COO of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and how the sporting community is fighting to regain the public's trust in light of the ongoing doping scandals that have rocked so many different disciplines over the last few years.

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