Despite being 28 years old, British high jump champion Robbie Grabarz is still to make his Commonwealth Games debut – but has his sights firmly set on Gold Coast 2018.
The Enfield born high jumper, who won bronze at London 2012, believes that the Commonwealth Games is an important part of any athletes’ career and is looking forward to finally getting the chance to represent his home nation.
“The Commonwealth Games is a great opportunity to go against the home nations and represent your real home country – and I am sure that many athletes experience the same. It will be a really nice feeling to hopefully wear an England vest at Gold Coast 2018.”
Grabarz, who has only previously competed in Australia once before is looking forward to revisiting the country in less than two years’ time and experience the strong England V Australia rivalry.
“Gold Coast 2018 is a place I would love to compete at. It’s a really exciting place to go. I have some family that lives out there so it would be great for them to come and watch me compete out there. They have always wanted to watch me compete so to give them the opportunity to watch me compete at the Commonwealth Games in Australia would be brilliant.
“In the last couple of years the Australians have started to produce some exciting high jumpers and I expect Gold Coast 2018 to be a massive aim of theirs as they progress. I am sure an England V Australia rivalry will be formed with them in the build-up to the Gold Coast.”
Injury prevented Grabarz from competing at Glasgow 2014, and he is looking forward to joining the diverse ranks of Team England.
“Team England is a really diverse team; you get the young and old and people who may appear unfit to someone in athletics but in fact they are shining in their own sport, and that’s a really cool thing to experience.
“The Commonwealth Games provides a massive opportunity to some of the smaller sports and it is so exciting to see those guys out there and compete on a major stage.”
Recognising that Team England has some exciting young talent coming through the ranks, Grabarz highlights the importance of the Commonwealth Games in the development of the next generation of English athletes.
“It’s really important for athletes to experience the Commonwealth Games and to understand how it all works. The fact that there will be thousands of people there and it will be really busy at all times of the day gives it a really nice buzz and you will see sports that you didn’t know would be there.”
It’s a significant week for England as a nation, with the Queen’s 90th birthday, the second reading of the national anthem debate and St George’s Day – and Grabarz is feeling proud to be English.
“It’s nice that there is a lot happening this week in England and I think that when they all happen in a small cluster like this, it makes you more aware of it and heightens your sense of pride in being English.
“With the national anthem debate I think it would be good to have a more fun song that’s a bit more modern and best represents England as it is now. I think that having a current artist perform it live would bring more interest to the Games.
And according to Grabarz, there is nothing that quite beats the English countryside.
“I think the countryside is my favourite thing about England, and when you get one of those days where you realise how green and beautiful England is – that’s what I love.”