Everything you need to know about the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Everything you need to know about the 2022 Commonwealth Games

July 24, 2022

When and where are the Games?

The XXII Commonwealth Games will run across 11 days of competition from July 29 to August 8. Keep in mind, however, there’s a nine-hour time difference between Birmingham and the east coast of Australia. The opening ceremony begins on Friday morning at 4.45am AEST, with competition beginning later on Friday for Australian viewers. The closing ceremony takes place at 5.15am on August 9.

The Games will be held in and around Birmingham at 15 different venues. It’s the first time the Games have returned to England since Manchester in 2002.

How much will I be able to watch given the time zone?

Australian viewers – who like to get their sleep during normal hours – will effectively have two windows to watch the Commonwealth Games; either late at night, or early in the morning.

On day one for example (this Friday), lawn bowls is the first sport to get underway, at 5.30pm (AEST). Swimming heats will then begin in prime time for Australian viewers on the east coast. Action will continue throughout the night, with competition running until about 7.30am AEST the following morning. Sport lovers might have to sacrifice some sleep in the coming days.

Australia’s Peter Bol at the World Athletics Championships.Credit:Getty Images

What about the swimming and athletics?

Swimming heats, beginning on day one, will run from 7.30pm to 9.30pm (AEST), while finals will favour the early risers. Medal races begin at 4am and go until 7am (AEST). We’re set for six days of swimming action.

There are two days of competition where the swimming and athletics programs overlap. On August 2, action gets underway on the athletics track at Alexander Stadium (the same venue where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held). There are two athletics sessions per day; a morning and an evening. The first runs from 7pm to 10:30pm (AEST) and then again at 3:30am to 7am (AEST).

How can I watch?

Channel Seven is the host broadcaster of the Commonwealth Games. There will be 30 dedicated channels across Seven and 7plus. Coverage will begin every night at 7pm AEST and run through the wee hours of the morning.

What sports are in the Commonwealth Games?

Australia will compete every sport contested in Birmingham: aquatics (diving and swimming), athletics, badminton, 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cricket (T20), cycling (mountain biking, road and track), gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), field hockey, judo, lawn bowls, netball, powerlifting, rugby sevens, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.

Australia’s Twenty20 star Alyssa Healy.Credit:Getty Images

There are eight sports for para-athletes, who will compete at these Commonwealth Games as well. They are swimming, athletics, cycling, lawn bowls, powerlifting, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and para-triathlon.

What sports will we see that aren’t in the Olympics or Paralympics?

T20 cricket (women), lawn bowls, netball and squash.

Sports that were in last year’s Olympics that won’t feature in Birmingham include water polo, rowing, baseball, softball, equestrian, fencing, golf, soccer, handball, sailing, skateboarding, surfing and tennis.

Are there new sports?

Yes. T20 cricket (women), judo, 3×3 basketball, 3×3 wheelchair basketball and para table tennis.

Who will be there?

A total of 54 countries and 18 territories will converge on Birmingham. If you’ve heard of all of them, you’re a genius.

They are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, England, Eswatini, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Guyana, India, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Scotland, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Wales, Zambia.

The smallest, when it comes to population, are Niue (1942 people), Falkland Islands (3,747) Montserrat (4,500), Tuvalu (11,069) and Nauru (12,315).

Kelsey-Lee Barber celebrates winning javelin gold at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.Credit:Getty Images

What do I need to know about the Australian team?

Australia is sending a team of 433 athletes, comprising 231 female athletes, 201 male athletes and one non-binary athlete.

It is Australia’s second-largest group of athletes ever, after a home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

There are 349 able-bodied athletes, 75 para-sport athletes, plus four triathlon guides, two lawn bowls directors and two cycling pilots.

The team also features nine Indigenous athletes, Australia’s biggest ever representation; Brandon Wakeling (weightlifting), Taliqua Clancy (beach volleyball), Alex Winwood and Callum Peters (boxing), Indiana “Indi” Cooper (athletics), Ruby Storm (swimming), Ash Gardner (cricket), Maurice Longbottom (rugby sevens), Ally Wilson (3×3 basketball) and Mariah Williams (hockey).

Australia is one of only six countries (including Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales) to have competed at every Commonwealth Games.

The average age of the Australian team is 26.6 years old and 65 per cent of athletes will be competing at their first Commonwealth Games.

Former Australian swimmer Petria Thomas, who won 12 medals at the Commonwealth Games, is the team’s chef de mission.

The young and the old?

Diver Charli Petrov is the youngest on the team at 14 years old, while 63-year-old Queensland lawn bowler Cheryl Lindfield is flying the flag for the older individuals in the group.

Australian divers Charli Petrov and Melissa Wu.Credit:Getty Images

How many medals can Australia expect to win?

Officials won’t put a number on how many medals Australia is hoping to bring back from Birmingham but it’s likely that at some stage during Games, Australia will claim its 1000th Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Australia has topped the medal tally 13 times out of the 21 Games it has participated in since 1930.

Australia’s best results have been an 87 gold medal haul in 1994, while the 221 medals in Melbourne 2006 was the highest figure overall.

Four years ago on the Gold Coast, Australia picked up 80 gold, 58 silver and 59 bronze. By comparison, Australia snared 17 gold, 7 silver and 22 bronze at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Will it be a gold rush? Absolutely. A similar performance would be expected of this team but history shows England always rise to the occasion on home soil.

Without nations such as the United States, China, Japan and Russia participating, the chance of more medals is inevitably going to go up.

Who are Australia’s greatest Commonwealth Games medallists?

Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones all share the record for the most gold medals for Australia, with 10 apiece.

Emma McKeon is tipped to move into top spot on Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold medal tally.Credit:Getty Images

O’Neill and Thorpe won six golds each at the 1998 and 2002 Games, respectively.

Emma McKeon, who could feature in as many as nine races – including relays – is tipped to move past the star trio on the all-time list.

Shooter Phillip Adams has the Australian record for overall medals won, with 18 to his name from five campaigns.

Who are Australia’s best chances at medals at these Games?

Where to begin? McKeon, Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown are Australia’s best female hopes when it comes to high medal hauls in the pool, while Kyle Chalmers is returning for more Commonwealth Games success. Swimmers picked up six gold medals in relays at the last Games.

Australia have a number of big medal chances in the athletics field events, with Kelsey-Lee Barber (javelin), Nina Kennedy (pole vault), plus Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers (high jump) all in form.

In team events, the Kookaburras have won every hockey gold medal on offer at the Commonwealth Games, while the Hockeyroos are also in a good spot.

Australia’s champion women’s cricket team is tipped to win a medal in T20 cricket – the first of its kind for women – while both rugby sevens sides have been brilliant this year.

Add into the mix gold medal hopes in cycling, lawn bowls and squash, plus many others, and Australia should come away from Birmingham with no shortage of gold hanging around athletes’ necks.

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