Sportspersons from 72 countries will be competing in 280 events across 20 sports.
Birmingham is all set to host the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games. In just over a week, 5054 athletes representing 72 Commonwealth Games Associations will walk into the Alexander Stadium for the opening ceremony. They will compete in 280 events spread across 20 sports. And the event is held from 28th July to 8th August.
Olympics Champions, World No. 1s, legends of the game and fan favourites — athletes and teams of the highest calibre will be in action at the quadrennial event. Here, we look at the 10 most exciting athletes to look out for at the Games.
After his Tokyo triumph, India’s golden boy headlines this list. Since winning the gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj Chopra has broken his own national record twice. He’s currently competing at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, where he’ll be hoping to get on the podium. His personal best currently stands at 89.94 meters.
This year, he has impressed with two silver medals in Turku and Stockholm, and gold in Kuortane. He will be in action on 5th August in the qualifying round at the Commonwealth Games. And the final is set to be held on 7th August.
Cricket, India’s favourite sport, is set to make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham. Australian captain Meg Lanning, nicknamed the ‘Megastar’, is one player to keep an eye on. She has four ICC T20 World Cups to her name along with two 50-over World Cups. The Australian cricketer took over the captaincy as an 18-year-old, making her country’s youngest captain ever. She has since led the country to numerous titles and set a multitude of records. She boasts a batting average of 53.1 in ODIs and 36.7 in T20s.
One of swimming’s greatest prodigies, Ariarne Titmus’ performance at the Tokyo Olympics made her coach go wild in the stands — a video of which has gone viral on social media. His celebration was understandable considering Ariarne beat legendary swimmer Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle final and also set an Olympic record in the 200m freestyle final.
The 22-year-old won four medals at the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games. She will be looking to extend her cement her position at the top of the podium in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events along with the 50m backstroke.
A lot of eyes will be on Matty Lee in Birmingham. Especially after his Olympic gold medal-winning performance in Tokyo alongside Tom Daley in the men’s synchronized 10m platform event. For his services to the sport, the 24-year-old was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). This year, he has also clinched silver at the World Championships in Budapest partnering with Noah Williams for the first time in an international competition. The pair will look to go one better in Birmingham.
Big tournaments call for big names, and PV Sindhu rarely disappoints. The face of Indian badminton for many years now, the 27-year-old is entering Birmingham in red-hot form following her first BWF Super Series 500 at the Singapore Open a few days ago. The two-time Olympic medalist has not won a gold medal in the singles event at the Commonwealth Games and will be hoping that the third time’s the charm. Sindhu will be taking part in the women’s singles and mixed-team events.
Mirabai Chanu gave India a blockbuster start at the Tokyo Olympics when she bagged a silver medal on the very first day of the event. In Birmingham, she will be taking part in the 49kg event. She will be aiming to make a hat-trick of podium appearances after winning silver in Glasgow and gold in Australia. The clean and jerk specialist is scheduled to be in action on 30 July.
Andre de Grasse
Speed is the word that comes to mind when describing Andre De Grasse. A six-time Olympic medallist, De Grasse is the reigning 200m Olympic champion. You might remember him from the iconic photo alongside Jamaican Usain Bolt at the finish line of the 200m final at the Rio Olympics. De Grasse will be leading the Canadian short-distance group in his first ever Commonwealth Games appearance.
The current World No. 2 in squash, Paul Coll became the first New Zealand man to achieve the top spot in the world ranking earlier this year. He is the current British Open champion too, having won the event in 2021 and 2022. In the previous Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Coll had to settle for silver in the men’s singles event and bronze in the mixed doubles event. This time around, he is in much better form and will be looking for the double gold medal.
The Indian flag-bearer at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games, Bajrang Punia ensured India ended the event on a high by winning bronze in the 65kg category. The 28-year-old will be competing in the 65kg event in Birmingham. He is the defending champion at the Commonwealth Games and has been training at Michigan University in preparation for the quadrennial event.
Apart from being her first Commonwealth Games participation, this will also be the first multi-sporting event that world champion Nikhat Zareen will be competing in. The 26-year-old will take part in the 50kg women’s light flyweight event and is scheduled to be in action on the 3rd August.