• To Birmingham 2022

Chef de Mission celebrates the “bumper year” of sport that is now underway!

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Today marks one year to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which is a highlight in an unprecedented year of supporting the green and gold for Aussie sport fans.

As the Tokyo Olympics begin day 5 of competition, today marks the one year to go milestone until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, beginning the “bumper year” of sport for fans of the green and gold.

Birmingham 2022 Australian team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM is excited for Australian athletes who have the opportunity to compete during this unprecedented period of international sporting action.

“Wow what a start it has been already to the Tokyo Olympics, not only by the Australian team but by athletes from around the world. Overall the standard and spirit of the competition has been outstanding,” Thomas said.

“The Olympics has kicked off the bumper year of sport for Aussie sport fans, which includes the upcoming Paralympics, Winter Olympics and Paralympics, world championship in a number of sports and then capped off with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.”

“There are 487 athletes in the Australian Olympic Team, with 152 of them being Commonwealth Games Australia alumni members, but of course we are cheering for every Australia athlete wearing the green and gold.

“There have been some impressive performances in Tokyo already, I can’t wait to see what comes next at the Olympics, and then at the Paralympics next month.”

It has been a sensational start to the Olympics for Australia’s Kookaburras with the national men’s hockey side opening their campaign with a 5-3 victory over host nation Japan, before thrashing India 7-1 in the team’s second match-up at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Then making it three-for-three defeating Argentina in the Kookaburras third match.

The Hockeyroos side have also started its campaign well with two dominant victories against the Spanish and Chinese national teams.

There are 11 CGA alumni members in the women’s national side who are looking to add the Olympic gold to the side’s silver medal from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Australian Rugby 7s side sadly went down in the quarterfinals where they face the Rio 2016 gold medallists in Fiji. They now face-off against South Africa in the placing games.

Badminton Australia Falcons and Gold Coast 2018 team members Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa finished their campaign with a victory over the Danish pair in their third and final match-up after losing their first two pool matches.

Simon Leung joined Somerville to compete in the mixed doubles, but sadly they didn’t qualify for the next round of matches, while Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen went down in her opening women’s singles match-up against her opponent from Denmark.

It was tough going for the six Triathlon Australia stars taking part in the men’s and women’s individual races, especially for Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle after an opponent’s errant leg during the swim broke his nose.

Birtwhistle was the best of the Australians in 16th, one minute and 28 seconds behind gold medallist Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway (1:45.04). Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Matthew Hauser was 24th, 2 min 31 secs behind the winner, and Glasglow 2014 bronze medallist Aaron Royle was 26th (2.53).

Sadly out Australian shooters, including three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Daniel Repacholi missed out on the finals but they all represented the green and gold with pride.

The Australian road cyclists battled difficult conditions in the Tokyo heat in both the men’s and women’s road races, with two-time Commonwealth Games representative Tiffany Cromwell the best of the Aussies after riding hard to the line to finish 26th, 2min 56secs behind Kiesenhofer and was Australia’s best placed rider after its co-leaders Grace Brown and Amanda Spratt were distanced by the peloton on a brutal course. Fellow Australian debutant Sarah Gigante finished 40th just over eight minutes behind the winner.

There was Australian history made by gymnast Tyson Bull, who became the first male artistic gymnast to make an apparatus final at the Olympics, but unfortunately, our two female artistic gymnasts and Gold Coast 2018 medallists Georgia Godwin and Emily Whitehead competed valiantly but failed to make the finals.

In the squared circle, Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Skye Nicolson and Harry Garside both won their opening bouts to progress to the next round of matches. Nicolson made history becoming the first Australian female to win a bout at the Olympics in her opening round split decision victory.

On the sand it has been mixed results for the Australian beach volleyballers, the Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist men Damien Schumann and Chris McHugh have gone down in their opening two matches, while the silver medallist woman Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar were dominant in their opening match-up.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallists and mountain bike wife and husband duo Bec McConnell and Dan McConnell battled difficult conditions in the cross country races, with Bec finishing 28th and Dan finishing 30th in his fourth Olympic Games.

Judo Australia star Katharina Haecker lost by ippon in her bout in the women’s 63kg division, with Melbourne 2006 weightlifting bronze medallist Erika Yamasaki ended her campaign lifting a total of 170kg but missed out on the medals.

In the table tennis, sadly our mixed pair of Heming Hu and Melissa Tapper, our women’s singles player Michelle Bromley and men’s singles player David Powell, all suffered defeats, but seven-time Commonwealth Games medallist Jian Fang Lay matched her career-best making it to the third round in her sixth Olympic campaign, an outstanding effort by the 48-year-old.

While in the pool, the Australian Dolphins have enjoyed early success in the Games including young Commonwealth Games Australia making their mark on the world stage thrilling the former Olympic swimming champion turned Chef.

TITMUS’ GOLDEN OLYMPIC DREAM FULFILLED

Australia has enjoyed another successful morning in the pool at the Tokyo Olympics claiming three medals, including gold from Ariarne Titmus in the Women’s 400m freestyle final.

“Seeing the hard work and dedication of our Australian Dolphins swim team members pay off is fantastic. The swims of Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown to capture gold were incredible,” Thomas said.

“To know they benefited from their first multi-sport Games on the Gold Coast and have gone on to become Olympic gold medallists is just fantastic.”

The young swimmers have provided some wonderful moments during the first week of the Games, but we have also been introduced to a number of new sports, which have provided a first-hand look at what we can expect at the Birmingham Games.

“It has been great to see new sports make their Games debut, including skateboarding, surfing and my favourite of the new sports, 3×3 Basketball,” Thomas said.

“It is such a fast and fun version of the sport, and I can’t wait to see our Aussies competing in 3×3 Basketball and 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball in Birmingham.”

While there are still almost two weeks’ worth of Olympic competition to go, the “bumper year” of sport continues with the Tokyo Paralympics now less than a month away.

22 Commonwealth Games Australia alumni members have been selected in the team so far, with the possibility of more to be selected to take on the world’s best in Japan.

“It is an exciting time for Australian sports fans, with the remainder of the Olympics and then the Paralympics getting underway next month. Soon enough it will be our turn for the Birmingham Games,” Thomas said.

“We continue to work hard with our planning ahead of the Games as we want to make sure we can provide all of our team members with the best experience and performance environment possible in Birmingham.

“Our mantra is ‘Greater Together’ and we certainly will be in Birmingham, but for now let’s continue to cheer on our Australian athletes and enjoy the bumper year of sport.”

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