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Champions return to defend gold on track, field and road in Birmingham

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The first 32 Athletics Team Members have been selected and they are ready to be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham.

 

The first 32 members of the Australian Athletics Team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have been revealed, with a mix of youth and experience set to light up the track, field and roads in Birmingham this August.

Featuring 11 Commonwealth Games medallists including four defending champions, the team selected thus far includes Australia’s best track and field talent, all of whom have received automatic selection or invitations to compete in Birmingham.

Headlining the team will be defending champions Jemima Montag (walk), Madison de Rozario OAM (T54 1500m and marathon), Kurtis Marschall (pole vault) and Evan O’Hanlon OAM (T38 100m).

Included amongst the 14 Para-athletes and 18 able-bodied competitors who will make up the fully integrated athletics team is Glasgow 2014 high jump gold medallist Eleanor Patterson who returns to the Games after missing the gold Coast four years ago, and Tokyo stars Peter Bol (800m), Matt Denny (discus) and Ash Moloney (decathlon).

The team also features two athletes who have used the Commonwealth Games as a significant springboard to global success including 2019 world javelin champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Kelsey-Lee Barber who is seeking to capture Commonwealth gold after clinching bronze in Glasgow and silver on the Gold Coast, and Olympic high jump silver medallist Nicola McDermott who won bronze on the Gold Coast.

World ranked number one Jemima Montag will be looking to repeat her breakthrough performance from the Gold Coast 2018 Games when she takes on the Commonwealth’s best in the 10,000m race walk.

Montag, who finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the 20km road version of the event is primed and ready to claim the top spot on the podium, after breaking an 18-year-old Australian race walking record earlier this year.

“My gold medal in front of a home crowd was a fork in the road moment. After having struggled with confidence and wondering whether I had what it takes, I hit that tape and knew I belonged amongst the best in the world,” Montag said.

“My mindset is totally different heading into Birmingham. I remember just feeling lucky to be on the team in 2018, and hoping to smile for the cameras during the race.

“This time around I know I can win and I’m ready to put on a classy performance.”

 

 

Fellow Commonwealth Games champion Madison de Rozario will lead the charge for the 14 Australian athletes competing in the Birmingham Para-athletics program and will be looking to add yet another gold medal to her growing list of accolades, which now includes two Commonwealth and two Paralympic gold medals.

de Rozario may be a stalwart of the Australian wheelchair racing scene but is only in the infancy of her marathon career and will be looking to stamp her authority on her Commonwealth competitors after a nail-biting finish saw her win gold in the event in Tokyo.

“There’s something special about the Commonwealth Games. After winning gold there in 2018, it holds a special place in my heart in terms of my career, particularly in the marathon” de Rozario said.

“One element I love about the Commonwealth Games is the combined team, and the way Australia embraces both sides of our team.

“We saw the follow on effect from 2018 in Tokyo and it really helped set a stage for the Paralympics. While I won’t have a full field to compete against, the Commonwealth Games is still really special in that way.

“The calibre of athletes announced today is unreal. The results from our athletics teams in Tokyo were outstanding and I’m excited to see a lot of our athletes, especially our medallists, compete at the Commonwealth Games level.

“We’ve got a whole lot of our Para-athletes who haven’t raced at the Commonwealth Games before, like Jake Lappin and Sarah Clifton Bligh. It’s her first team, and it’s been great to see her develop and get to this level.”

 

 

Also featuring in the team will be Sinead Diver as Australia’s most successful marathoner since Commonwealth Games legend Steve Moneghetti AM retired.

Hailing from Ireland, Diver, who now calls Albert Park home, will be looking to clinch her first medal for her adopted country after a triumphant top-10 finish at the Tokyo Olympics.

“This will be my first time at the Commonwealth Games. I was disappointed to miss out in 2018 but absolutely loved watching all of my Aussie teammates competing,” Diver said.

“It was such an amazing Games and I’m so excited to be part of the action this time.

“I would like to think I’ll be more competitive at the Commonwealth Games than in Tokyo. In Tokyo I wasn’t ever in medal contention, whereas in Birmingham I will be aiming for this.”

With the World Athletics Championships on in Oregon, USA, just before the Games begin, Diver has committed to focussing solely on the Birmingham Games for best preparation and is looking forward to having her family alongside her for the ride.

“It’ll be so special to have Colin (husband) and the boys at the Commonwealth Games this year. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come to Tokyo as international travellers weren’t allowed at the Games, so this will, in part make up for that disappointment,” Diver said.

“I’ll also have some of my family flying over from Ireland. The great thing about having it in the UK is that it’s really close. Anyone who can’t make it over [to England], I’ll be able to catch up with post Games.”

Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipient Sarah Clifton-Bligh will make her debut in the green and gold alongside fellow Para-athletes Julie Charlton and Anthony Jordan.

Clifton-Bligh began racing after being lent the famous “blue” chair which has been shared among wheelchair racing icons and Commonwealth gold medallists Kurt Fearnley AO and Angie Ballard, who too has been named on the team once more, her fourth Commonwealth Games.

Having finished high school just last year, she has reached on of her goals for the year with selection to the Birmingham team as she works towards becoming a Paralympian for the first time at the Paris 2024 Games.

 

 

Birmingham 2022 Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM commented on the strength of the athletics team so far named.

“This is an exciting group who are ready to be bold, brave and brilliant at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham,” Thomas said.

“Today’s selections of the first Athletics Team Members is a wonderful mixture of defending gold medal champions, experienced campaigners, and the next generation who are ready to establish themselves on the world stage.

“Australia has enjoyed a tremendous legacy in athletics at the Commonwealth Games, and I know the Team Members selected today are ready to add their names to that storied history.

“I can’t wait to watch them create their own chapters in Birmingham.”

 

 

Athletics Australia CEO Peter Bromley congratulated each athlete on their selection, and thanked Commonwealth Games Australia for their ongoing support.

“2022 is a huge year for the Australian Athletics Team but we are sure that the Commonwealth Games will be a highlight for both us and the rest of the Australian public following along our journey,” Bromley said.

“We’re incredibly proud of this first wave of athletes selected for the team. We have some first time Australian representatives amongst our cohort, and some of our most prolific athletes ready to step up once again and make our country proud.

“I’d like to congratulate these athletes on their selection, and also thank Commonwealth Games Australia for the support they’ve provided to our athletes over this Commonwealth Games cycle.

“Our athletes will be ready to help maintain our position as the number one in the Commonwealth, because of the funding that has been provided to our programs and our athletes.”
Commonwealth Games Australia and Athletics Australia are set to announce the final selections of the Australian Athletics Team for Birmingham in late June, following the end of the qualification period.

 

Australian Athletics Team – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:

NAME EVENT AGE COMMONWEALTH GAMES SUBURB STATE POSTCODE
WOMEN'S EVENTS
Angela Ballard Women's 1500m T54 39 4th Games (2006 - 6th: 800m T54; 2014 - Gold: 1500m T54; 2018 - Silver: 1500m T54) Canberra ACT 2601
Kelsey-Lee Barber Women's Javelin 30 3rd Games (2014 - Bronze: Javelin; 2018 - Silver: Javelin) Macgregor QLD 4109
Catriona Bisset Women's 800m 28 Debut Northcote VIC 3070
Julie Charlton Women's Shot Put F57 22 Debut Dural NSW 2158
Rhiannon Clarke Women's 100m T38 19 2nd Games (2018 - Silver: 100m T38) Kingsley WA 6026
Liz Clay Women's 100m Hurdles 27 Debut Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
Sarah Clifton-Bligh Women's 100m T34 18 Debut Harberfield NSW 2045
Christie Dawes Women's Marathon T54 & 1500m T54 42 3rd Games (2006 - 5th: 800m T54; 2014 - 4th: 1500m T54) Merewether NSW 2291
Madison de Rozario OAM Women's Marathon T54 & 1500m T54 28 2nd Games (2018 - Gold: Marathon T54, Gold: 1500m T54) Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127
Sinead Diver Women's Marathon Debut Albert Park VIC 3206
Sarah Edmiston Women's Discus F42-44/F61-64 46 Debut Marangaroo WA 6064
Jessica Hull Women's 5000m 25 Debut Oregon United States 97005
Nina Kennedy Women's Pole Vault 25 2nd Games (2018 - Bronze: Pole Vault) Peppermint Grove WA 6011
Robyn Lambird Women's 100m T34 25 Debut Heathridge WA 6027
Rosemary Little Women's 100m T34 39 Debut West Pennant Hills NSW 2125
Nicola McDermott Women's High Jump 25 2nd Games (2018 - Bronze: High Jump) Tascot NSW 2250
Jemima Montag Women's 10000m Walk 24 2nd Game (2018 - Gold: 20km Walk) Elwood VIC 3184
Ella Pardy Women's 100m T38 31 3rd Games (2014 – 9th: Long Jump Para-sport; 2018 – 4th: 100m T38) Duncraig WA 6023
Eleanor Patterson Women's High Jump 25 2nd Games (2014 - Gold: High Jump) Five Dock NSW 2046
MEN'S EVENTS
Liam Adams Men's Marathon 35 3rd (2014 - 7th: Marathon; 2018 - 5th: Marathon) Moonee Ponds VIC 3039
Peter Bol Men's 800m 28 Debut Box Hill North VIC 3129
Matthew Denny Men's Discus 25 2nd (2018 - Silver: Hammer Throw; 4th: Discus Throw) Allora QLD 4362
Cedric Dubler Men's Decathlon 27 2nd (2018 - Bronze: Decathlon) The Gap QLD 4061
Oliver Hoare Men's 1500m 25 Debut Colorado United States 80503
Anthony Jordan Men's 100m T47 16 Debut Mitcham VIC 3132
Jake Lappin Men's 1500m T54 29 3rd (2010 - 7th: 1500m T54; 2018 - Bronze: 1500m T54, 6th: Marathon) Canberra ACT 2601
Kurtis Marschall Men's Pole Vault 25 2nd (2018 - Gold: Pole Vault) Cottesloe WA 6011
Ash Moloney Men's Decathlon 22 Debut Heritage Park QLD 4118
Evan O'Hanlon OAM Men's 100m T38 34 2nd (2018 - Gold: 100m T38) Baska Czech Republic 73901
Jaydon Page Men's 100m T47 17 Debut Canberra ACT 2601
Jack Rayner Men's Marathon 26 Debut Glen Iris VIC 3146
Kyle Swan Men's 10000m Walk 23 Debut Wantirna South VIC 3152

Athletics has been held at every Commonwealth Games since they were first held in 1930. Para-athletics were added to the program at the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games, then returning at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Alexander Stadium has undergone a £72m ($128m) renovation to host athletics and ceremonies at Birmingham 2022, transforming the venue from a 12,700 capacity stadium to around 30,000 for the Games.

Australia and England are both vying to become the first nation to win 200 gold medals in

athletics at the Commonwealth Games. Australia is also on track to win its 500th athletics medal in Birmingham. Australian sporting legends Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE and Raelene Boyle AM MBE are the most successful Australian athletes at the Games, each winning seven gold medals.\

 

Commonwealth Games athletics medals summary by nation:

NATION GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
Australia 196 162 137 495
England 194 200 183 577
Canada 83 98 135 316
Kenya 72 62 49 183
Jamaica 57 40 44 141

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August with the Athletics competitions to be conducted from Tuesday 2 August through to Sunday 7 August, with the competitions to be held at Alexander Stadium.

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