5,000 athletes to battle for C’wealth Games glory

Five thousand athletes from the 72 Commonwealth Games Associations will come together in Birmingham to battle it out for sporting glory from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The multi-sport events will feature 280 finals across 20 sports.

Australia (2,415 medals) and England (2,144) have been the most successful nations at the games and will be expected to dominate the medal table once again.

From an African perspective, South Africa (389), Kenya (237), and Nigeria (236) are the most decorated nations from the continent and 2022 will present them with the opportunity to close the gap to those ahead of them on the all-time medal table.

The Athletics programme will be peppered with star power, with the likes of Jamaican sprint trio Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson set to delight the fans.

The long and middle-distance runners of Africa are set to shine on a grand stage yet again while stars Ferdinand Omayala and Wayde van Niekerk will be looking to overcome World Championships disappointments.

The likes of Zach Stubblety-Cook, Molly O’Callaghan and Kaylee McKeown will be on the hunt to further their personal medal hauls in the pool, while Chad le Clos will be gunning to become the most decorated Commonwealth Games athlete. Tatjana Schoenmarker will return to a major stage for the first time since breaking the 200m breaststroke world record at Tokyo 2020 and will be hoping to add the Commonwealth Games medal to her trophy cabinet.

Cricket will be making a return to the Games for the first time in 24 years in the form of a women’s T20 tournament. South Africa, England, Australia and India will be the most favoured of the eight nations to reach the semifinals while New Zealand and Pakistan will be out to spoil their plans.

Last time out, England broke the monopoly of Australia and New Zealand’s domination of the Netball tournament. The three will again likely be the semifinal contenders while the last spot in the final four will be left for the likes of South Africa and Jamaica to fight over.

South Africa broke New Zealand’s stranglehold on the Rugby Sevens gold medal in 2014 but the Kiwis returned to the throne in 2018, with the South African’s finishing fourth. The Blitzboks will be aiming to once again unseat the New Zealanders but will have to go through the likes of 2018 silver and bronze medalists Fiji and England as well as Australia. Kenya ended the 2018 competition in eighth place and will be hoping to pull off a surprise to make the semifinals from a group that includes fellow Africans Uganda, Jamaica and Australia.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, with action from sports like badminton, 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, shooting, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling all on show in Birmingham.

Birmingham, ‘The Second City’, will play host to the more than 5,000 athletes looking to etch their names into the history books.

Athletes and officials alike will be housed at three campuses close to the competition venues at the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick and the NEC Hotel.

The newly-renovated Alexander Stadium is the centrepiece of the competition venues with the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics programme all taking place inside its walls.

Elsewhere, the Arena Birmingham, Edgebaston Cricket Ground, Smithfield, Sutton Park, Victoria Square and the University of Birmingham will all play host to the athletes in some capacity.

The action will not be confined to Birmingham itself as venues throughout the West Midlands Region have been prepared for a variety of sporting codes while the track cycling competition will play out at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London. -SuperSport

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