Greater than 5,000 athletes are primed for motion within the English metropolis of Birmingham from Friday at a Commonwealth Video games missing a number of observe and area stars however nonetheless boasting elite performers.
Rivals from 72 nations and territories — lots of that are former British colonies — can be vying for medals in 19 sports activities over a jam-packed 11 days within the Midlands.
Away from the marquee athletics and swimming occasions, girls’s Twenty20 cricket makes its debut and 3×3 basketball will characteristic for the primary time whereas sedate garden bowls is a fixture.
There’s an built-in para sports activities programme in some occasions.
The Video games, held each 4 years, are sometimes criticised as a unusual sporting relic however can be launched in model at Thursday’s opening ceremony, headlined by Eighties pop band Duran Duran, shaped in Birmingham.
Sporting powerhouse Australia have topped the medals desk at each Video games since 1990 besides in 2014, when England completed prime in Glasgow — the final time the occasion was held on British soil.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire compete as separate groups through the Commonwealths relatively than as a mixed British outfit.
Within the pool, Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus, Kaylee McKeown and teenage sensation Mollie O’Callaghan will lead the cost for a star-studded Australian workforce.
Double Olympic champion Titmus, 21, opted out of the current world championships in Budapest to maintain herself recent for Birmingham.
“I’m so excited and I feel we have got an amazing workforce getting into. It is insane the depth we’ve got,” mentioned the Commonwealth Video games 400 metres and 800m freestyle champion.
McKeon, 28, who gained seven medals — together with 4 golds — ultimately 12 months’s Olympics in Tokyo, boasts an exceptional Commonwealth Video games report, with eight gold and 4 bronze medals in two appearances.
Headlining for England can be breaststroke famous person Adam Peaty, who missed the current world championships with a foot damage.
“I really feel actually good in myself, I really feel actually good in my health,” he informed Sky Sports activities. “However now it is all about getting that money out of the financial institution and seeing the place I am at.”
He mentioned he was relishing competing in entrance of dwelling followers.
“I used to be born within the Midlands, most likely die within the Midlands, it is my dwelling.”
The Commonwealth Video games comes scorching on the heels of the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon, which solely completed on Sunday.
The worlds had been rescheduled from final 12 months after the coronavirus pandemic pressured a delay to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics however that has created a headache for athletes in a crowded schedule.
Olympic champions Andre De Grasse, Kirani James and Neeraj Chopra will certainly be absent from Birmingham.
Chopra, who gained javelin gold for India in Tokyo final 12 months, mentioned he was “damage” at not having the ability to defend his Commonwealth title after struggling a groin pressure through the world championships, the place he gained silver.
There are main doubts over the participation of Jamaican dash trio Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah, who swept the 100m podium in Oregon.
Jackson, who beforehand steered she could be competing in Birmingham, adopted up her 100m silver on the worlds by operating the second-fastest time in historical past within the 200m.
In one other blow, British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith introduced on Wednesday she had withdrawn from the England workforce on account of a hamstring damage she sustained in Oregon “because of the brief turnaround”.
However there’ll nonetheless be star energy on the Alexander Stadium, with Australian excessive jumper Eleanor Patterson and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber arriving as newly minted world champions.
Jake Wightman, who shocked Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win 1,500m gold in the US, can be one among large attracts for dwelling followers within the absence of Asher-Smith, with Scottish Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir one other main title.
Cricket final featured on the Commonwealth Video games in 1998 however the girls will participate for the primary time in Birmingham, with Meg Lanning’s Australia scorching favourites to win the T20 competitors.
Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas will compete for Wales and Australian biking dash ace Caleb Ewan may even characteristic after a disappointing Tour.
Mark Cavendish, driving for the Isle of Man relatively than below the British flag, could have one thing to show after lacking out on choice for the Tour de France this 12 months.