We have compiled a list of five ‘ones to watch’ as we get closer to the summer action.
1. Laura Muir (Scotland, Athletics)
Fresh from achieving Olympic silver in Tokyo last year, breaking her bad luck in global outdoor champs, Laura Muir is headed to her first Commonwealth Games. She missed the last one, which she would have been a medal favourite for, to concentrate on her exams, securing her veterinary degree. Now as a fully professional athlete she heads to Birmingham as one of the favourites for 1500m gold. She opened up the season with a win at the Birmingham Diamond League in the Alexander stadium, so she obviously likes the track.
2. Chad Le Clos (South Africa, Swimming)
One of the most successful Commonwealth athletes of all time, Chad Le Clos (now thirty) is headed to his fourth Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He has previously won seventeen medals, seven of them gold, at the Games. He did however struggle at last year’s Olympics in Tokyo, walking away empty handed, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to recapture the form which saw him win three golds on the Gold Coast.
3. Non Stanford (Wales, Triathlon)
World champion back in 2013, Non Stanford was on the brink of establishing herself on top of the triathlon world, and Commonwealth gold for her beloved Wales seemed the perfect way to do it. However, an injury hit 2014 forced her to miss the Glasgow Games. Since then she has come fourth in the 2016 Olympics and eighth at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. After missing out on selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Non announced her intention to win gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
4. Hannah Cockroft (England, Para-athletics)
Multiple world record holder and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft is due to compete in Birmingham in what will be her first Commonwealth Games. We will see if she can replicate the form that has taken her to seven paralytic golds and eleven world titles, or will Kare Adenegan, the upstart English woman who briefly took Hannah’s world record from her, be able to spoil the party?
5. Fiji men’s rugby sevens team (Fiji, Rugby)
In 2016 Fiji captured the hearts of the world as their men’s rugby sevens team shocked everyone to win the country’s first ever Olympic gold. A feat they repeated four years later much to the delight of the small island nation. However, despite their Olympic success they are yet to win a Commonwealth medal, even though they have been in the final on three separate occasions. Will Birmingham 2022 see their luck change?