The 2022 Commonwealth Games is rapidly approaching. Set to start in July of next year, this will be the third time England has hosted the games, and the first time it has been held in Birmingham. Birmingham 2022 is set to have the largest ever female and para sport programme in the games’ history, and for the first time in history, a major multi-sport event will have more medals available for women than men. All of the four home nations have real hopes of picking up medals next year, and those who fancy placing a bet on some of the outcomes can use the best betting sites to do so. We look at the biggest athletes expected to compete and some of the big medal hopefuls.
Laura Muir – women’s 1500 metres (Scotland)
Laura Muir set a British record time of 3:54.50 as she picked up a silver medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and says she has “unfinished business” at the Commonwealth Games. She qualified but didn’t compete last time around in Gold Coast, Australia, four years ago due to the games coinciding with her veterinary exams, and she could only muster an 11th place finish in the 2014 Commonwealth Games when she had a home games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Her silver in Tokyo was one of the true feel good stories of the Olympics, who has just missed out on medals at every major event she’d competed in previously. After her silver in Tokyo, she said: “I have been fourth, fifth twice, sixth and seventh at a global champs every year since 2015. So I just thought ‘run as hard as you can – and even if I never run another step again, just get to the line as fast as possible. I gave it absolutely everything. I was tightening up so bad. I thought, keep pushing, keep pushing. I gave it everything. There have been a lot of sad tears. But now I have silver – and a British record as well.”
Scottish fans will be keeping a close eye on Muir to see if she can go one better in 2022 and win the gold in Birmingham.
Adam Peaty MBE – Swimming (England)
Adam Peaty is one of Britain’s greatest ever sportspeople and arguably the best swimmer to ever compete in the breaststroke. The current world-record holder in the 100m and 50m breaststroke is from Staffordshire, just down the road from Birmingham and will have a large following to see him compete. He is widely expected to win gold in next year’s Commonwealth Games, an event where he announced himself on the world stage in 2014 when he won two gold medals and one silver for Team England. He told the PA news agency: “I think it’s going to be incredible, not only because we get a home Games – also, for me, it’s a very local Games. I live literally 40 minutes away from Birmingham. I’m actually contemplating staying at home and just travelling in to race, which is a very different way of approaching a big Games. I think it is a huge opportunity for Birmingham to really show what it’s about, show what the people can give. And I like a home crowd, I like performing.” The 50m breaststroke Commonwealth gold is the only one he’s yet to win, and he’ll be out to complete his collection next year.
Max Whitlock MBE – Gymnastics (England)
Max Whitlock is no stranger to Commonwealth Games success. He has four gold medals at the event and will be hotly tipped to win a fifth in Birmingham next year. His gold in the pommel horse at the Tokyo Olympics was sensational, and as part of Team England’s “take it home” campaign ahead of Birmingham 2022, he said: “I’m ‘bringing it home’ for all aspiring gymnasts up and down the country. We’ve missed cheering gymnasts on, bringing that back to Birmingham would be unbelievable”.
Rhys McClenaghan – Gymnastics (Northern Ireland)
Whitlock’s biggest rival for pommel horse gold in 2022 could well be Rhys McClenaghan, who won the gold medal in the 2018 Games, narrowly beating out Whitlock in the process. He had a disappointing Olympic Games, finishing seventh in the pommel horse final and will be aiming to bounce back in Birmingham when he represents Northern Ireland. The 22-year-old from County Down won Northern Ireland’s first ever medal for an artistic gymnast at the Commonwealth Games and in 2018 was Ireland’s first ever European Champion.
Jake Heyward – men’s 1500 metres (Wales)
Jake Heyward probably represents Wales’ best chance at a medal for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 22-year-old did sensationally well to qualify for the Olympic final in Tokyo and is a former European under-18 and under-20 1500m champion and will be hoping to impress in Birmingham in his first appearance wearing the colours of Wales.
Women’s T20 Cricket (England)
This will be a landmark games for many reasons, and one of those is that women’s T20 is set to debut at the games. England has a real chance of winning the gold medal, but will face stiff competition to do so. They face New Zealand, South Africa and a qualifier in their group, which should they get through, will likely have to beat India and Australia in the semi final and final to take home the gold.
Heather Knight is the captain of the side and she is a dependable top order batter who can bowl some useful off spin if required. In young starlet Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn they have the first and second ranked women’s T20 bowlers in the world and with Natalie Sciver they have a player that can be destructive with both bat and ball. As the host nation, England will fancy themselves as real contenders, but India and Australia are both fantastic sides in their own right and England will have to be at their best to take home the gold.