The baton has arrived and the dust has settled on the blockbuster Opening Ceremony. We’ve had a glimpse at athletes from all 72 nations proudly marching surrounded by the best of Birmingham’s culture and now it’s down to business for Team England.
The wait might have seemed longer than the canals of Birmingham but the chance to compete to get their hands on a Commonwealth Games medal is just hours away. It’s time to Bring it Home.
There’s no slow start to these games with the first medal winning opportunity coming in the individual triathlon. Up first, the men take to the water, bike and road at Sutton Park before the women show their skills later in the day. Team England’s Alex Yee is hot favourite to bring home our first medal of the Games and it will be a tense head-to-head between the 24-year-old and his Kiwi rival Hayden Wilde. In the women’s event, it’s all eyes on Commonwealth Games debutant Georgia Taylor-Brown, who currently leads the world triathlon championship series, and Sophie Coldwell, competing in her second Games. There will be fierce jostling for position from the English girls and defending Commonwealth and Olympic champion Flora Duffy from Bermuda. Only one can take gold and fans will be hoping the home advantage pushes the English girls to that top spot.
Not into running or swimming but still a fan of a two-wheeled vehicle? You’re in luck! Day one also sees a quick trip to London for track cycling and para track action from Lee Valley VeloPark. With six chances at a medal, Team England’s athletes will be looking to go wheelie fast and bag themselves as many pieces of Birmingham-made precious metal as they can.
Notably, the first medal in the velodrome will be the Women’s Tandem B sprint. Sophie Unwin and her pilot Georgia Holt will have the first shot at maintaining England’s glittering reputation in the event when they hit the track at astonishing speed. Unwin only took up the sport in 2020, where she found form nabbing bronze alongside guide Jenny Hall at the World cup just weeks after her maiden ride.
At the Tokyo Paralympics, she stunned her rivals (and herself) taking silver in the road race and bronze in the individual pursuit. She is now looking to go one better and is tipped for the top of the podium this week. There are also medals to be won in both Men’s and Women’s Tandem B 1000m Time Trials, Team Pursuits and Team Sprints. Team England are historically one of the strongest nations when it comes to cycling and have won a staggering 121 medals (36 Gold, 44 Silver and 41 Bronze) to date including 13 on the Gold Coast in 2018. By the end of day one in Birmingham, they will be looking to push this number closer to 130.
Remember, it is not just on the track where medals will be won, but also out on the road and in the mountain biking so there are plenty of opportunities over the coming 11 days for Team England’s cyclists. Set your alarms for the men’s Team Sprint finals which will be a display of speed like no other where Team England’s quartet will be hoping to keep their reputation in tact. Four men, eight wheels, one race.
Cycling sometimes looks like a coordinated routine, but when it comes to a thing of beauty, timing, and grace, you look no further than gymnastics, taking place in the heart of city at Arena Birmingham.
Team England topped the gymnastics medal table on the Gold Coast bringing home 16 medals including six gold, seven silver and three bronze. Today, it is the turn of Team England’s men in the Team final where they will showcase their talents on the floor, rings, parallel bars, high bar, pommel, and vault. The displays from Joe Fraser, James Hall, Jake Jarman, Giarnni Regini-Moran, Courtney Tulloch are not to be missed as they display their physical strength, coordination, elegance, agility and composure. If you’re anything like us, you’ll come away from watching it suddenly believing you too can flip and twist in the same way. Quick health warning - these are highly trained individuals and perhaps we should leave the flipping, twisting and flying to them!
Still on the hunt for medals? How about a dip in the pool then. There are seven chances for Team England’s swimmers to compete for the podium on day one. Fan favourite, World record holder, and Team England swimming legend Adam Peaty is always one to watch out for and it’s no different here in Birmingham. Can he continue his dominance and add yet more golds to his collection? He thinks he can, we think he can, and the world will be chasing the breastroke guru. Tune in for some evening entertainment as Adam and the team hit the water.
While there might not be any other medal opportunities on day one, there is still plenty more action to catch, starting with lawn bowls and para lawn bowls at 8:30am. Just in time to entertain you while you munch your cornflakes. We’ve also got athletes in action in the Badminton at the NEC, Rugby Sevens down in Coventry, Table Tennis, Boxing and Netball at the NEC, plus Squash at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash centre. Phwoar, it’s busy isn’t it? But we want it any other way?!
I think that’s just about enough to be going with on day one. Now grab yourself a cuppa, make sure the TV remote is within touching distance so you can flick from sport to sport, or get yourselves to an event and be ready to roar on Team England as they prepare to Bring it home.
Birmingham 2022 is finally here and it’s a spectacle not to be missed.