The opening ceremony for this year’s Commonwealth Games is less than 24 hours away, as Australia’s squad of 429 athletes prepare for a busy 11 days of action in Birmingham.
Here’s all you need to know about Australia and its athletes before it all kicks off on Friday.
Where are the Games being held?
The city of Birmingham in England will host the 2022 edition of the Games.
There are 16 different venues where competitions will be held, with Alexander Stadium the showpiece location for the opening and closing ceremonies. However, Not all events are taking place in the host city, with the Velodrome being held in London, while the mountain biking will be held in the Cannock Chase Forest in the north of Birmingham.
What’s the time difference like?
It’s not the friendliest for Australian viewers, but that won’t stop the most passionate of supporters from staying up for the 22nd edition of the Games.
Those on the eastern seaboard are nine hours ahead of Birmingham, meaning many of the Games’ prime time events will take place during the early hours of the morning. The opening ceremony, for example, begins in at 7:45pm local time in Birmingham, resulting in a 4:45am AEST start for some Australian viewers.
How can I watch the Games?
Channel 7 again have secured the rights to the Games, with all events to be streamed live on their free-to-air channels, as well as 7plus.
Who are our flag bearers?
Chef de Mission Petria Thomas announced on Thursday morning that squash legend Rachael Grinham and men’s hockey captain Eddie Ockenden had been named Australia’s flag bearers for Friday morning’s opening ceremony.
Grinham will be competing at her eighth Comm Games and will be looking to add to her eight medals, which includes two gold.
She is the first squash player to be selected as the country’s flag bearer.
Ockenden, who is looking to claim his fourth gold medal in as many Commonwealth Games, will be the second Kookaburra in a row to be the nation’s flag bearer.
The 35-year-old holds the Australian record for most international hockey matches and has never lost a game at the Commonwealth Games.
When are the Para events?
Birmingham 2022 will have the largest para-sport component in history, with 42 events to be staged throughout the Games. Unlike the Olympics, where the Paralympics get their own window of competition, the para-sport program at the Commonwealth Games will be held concurrently.
There are eight sports for para-athletes, and Australia will have representation in every single one. Since 2002, The Commonwealth Games are the only multi-sport event to have an integrated para-sport program.
Are there any new sports?
Five new sports have been added since the 2018 event on the Gold Coast.
Women’s T20 cricket will make its debut, with the Australian team going in heavy favourites for the gold medal. Judo will make a return after being excluded from the previous edition of the Games, while 3×3 basketball will be played for the first time. 3×3 wheelchair basketball has also been added, as has para table tennis.
Who are Australia’s medal fancies?
After topping the medal table on home soil four years ago, Australia will be hoping to repeat that effort in Birmingham.
The Aussies are expected to dominate in the pool, with Olympic heroes Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon and Zak Stubblety-Cook favourites for their events.
On the track, two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Madison De Rozario will be looking to defend her crown in the women’s T54 marathon and 1500m, while runners Peter Bol and Rohan Browning will be followed closely after their eye-catching performances in Tokyo last year.
Australia will also go in strong, with chances to win gold in many of the team events including men’s and women’s hockey, netball, and women’s T20 cricket.
Photo by Jimmy Harris available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. The photo has not been modified.