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Commonwealth Games 2022: Kent sporting stars hoping to be taking part in Birmingham this summer


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The countdown is on for this summer's Commonwealth Games which take place in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

Sportsmen and women from across Kent will hope to be fit, well and selected to represent their country - with medals on their minds.

Here's a rundown of some of Kent's famous faces hoping to make a big impression this summer.

Adam Gemili won silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Adam Gemili won silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Athletics: Adam Gemili (ENG)

Dartford sprinter Adam Gemili goes to Birmingham with unfinished business.

After 100m silver in his first Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014 - and team gold at the 2017 World Championships for TeamGB - Blackheath & Bromley AC member Gemili set his sights on individual glory four years later in Australia. However, an adductor injury ruled him out of the 100m final and since then he has struggled to fulfil his potential after bursting on to the scene at the London Olympics in 2012.

His injury curse struck again at Tokyo 2020 last summer when he pulled out of the 200m heats with a hamstring injury so he will be more motivated than ever - and a home crowd behind him could help make the difference.

Dina Asher-Smith, third right, helped Great Britain to bronze in the 4x100m relay final at Tokyo 2020. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images
Dina Asher-Smith, third right, helped Great Britain to bronze in the 4x100m relay final at Tokyo 2020. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Athletics: Dina Asher-Smith (ENG)

Birmingham will be Dina Asher-Smith’s second Commonwealth Games after team gold in the 4x100m relay and individual bronze in the 200m in Australia in 2018. Since then, the Blackheath & Bromley AC runner has gone from strength to strength with 200m world championship gold and is the fastest-ever British woman in the 100m and 200m.

Like Gemili, she hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries, pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics 200m and failing to reach the 100m final on the back of a hamstring strain. However, this summer gives her the chance of a golden treble, with the Worlds in Oregon and the Europeans in Munich either side of the Commonwealth Games.

Tom Bosworth celebrates winning the 5km walk at the British Athletics Indoor Championships in 2020. Picture: Reuters/Russell Cheyne
Tom Bosworth celebrates winning the 5km walk at the British Athletics Indoor Championships in 2020. Picture: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

Athletics: Tom Bosworth (ENG)

If Australia 2018 was Tom Bosworth’s silver lining, the Tonbridge AC race walker will be hoping Birmingham 2022 will be his golden moment. Bosworth was best of the rest in the 20k walk on the Gold Coast four years ago - his second Commonwealth Games after Delhi 2010 - but this year the race walk distance is 10,000m.

Like Asher-Smith, five-times British record holder Bosworth has his sights set on a medal treble at the Worlds, Commonwealths and Europeans, and the shorter distance at Birmingham should be in his favour.

Sian Honnor - hoping for bowls glory in this summer's Commonwealth Games
Sian Honnor - hoping for bowls glory in this summer's Commonwealth Games

Bowls: Sian Honnor (ENG)

Commonwealth Games medals have become a habit for Whitstable’s Sian Honnor, and she will be hoping to keep the tradition going at Birmingham 2022. The Games will be her fourth, and after a bronze-winning debut in the women’s triples in Delhi in 2010, Honnor took gold as Team England beat Australia to triples glory in Glasgow four years later.

She won her second bronze on the Gold Coast in 2018, with Australia making the most of home advantage, but will be hoping the lush greens of Leamington Spa do the same for the host country this summer.

Bowls: Michelle White (ENG)

Selection for the Commonwealth Games caps a memorable 12 months for VCD Bowls Club’s Michelle White. White partners Surrey’s Gill Platt in the women’s para pairs and has already won her Disability Bowls England cap after playing in the four nations last summer.

With several Test matches on her CV already, she won’t be fazed at Birmingham 2022 and instead is likely to be in a hurry for glory after Covid forced the postponement of her Para International Home Nations Championship debut.

Gymnast James Hall with his medals from the Commonweath Games in Australia four years ago. Picture: Sean Aidan
Gymnast James Hall with his medals from the Commonweath Games in Australia four years ago. Picture: Sean Aidan

Gymnastics: James Hall (ENG)

Maidstone gymnast James Hall has been there and got the T-shirt as far as the Commonwealth Games are concerned. The 2018 debutant helped England to their first gold medal Down Under four years ago in the team event and added two individual silvers in the all-round final and horizontal bar.

Now an Olympian, Hall was part of the TeamGB squad which finished fourth in the team standings at the Tokyo Olympics and was eighth in the all-round final, so there’s no lacking experience for the big occasions. He won all-round glory at the British Championships in 2019 and would love more home success in Birmingham this summer.

Georgia-Mae Fenton on her way to gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Georgia-Mae Fenton on her way to gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Gymnastics: Georgia-Mae Fenton (ENG)

Gravesend’s Georgia-Mae Fenton already has two Commonwealth Games medals stored safely at home, and aged only 20 there’s every expectation that she will add more to the cabinet, starting in Birmingham this summer. Fenton returned from Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 with a silver from the team event and a gold from the bars, and finished inside the world’s top-20 in the women’s all-around final at the 2021 Artistic World Championships.

She is also among the rare breed of sports stars in having a move named after her - on the uneven bars along with Belgium’s Nina Derwael - the Derwael-Fenton.

Giarnni Regini-Moran is aiming for his first Commonwealth Games appearance. Picture: Lumix UK/Team GB/Sam Mellish
Giarnni Regini-Moran is aiming for his first Commonwealth Games appearance. Picture: Lumix UK/Team GB/Sam Mellish

Gymnastics: Giarnni Regini-Moran (ENG)

Giarnni Regini-Moran has yet to experience a Commonwealth Games but if picked for Team England this summer the Gravesend gymnast has got as good a chance as anyone of making the podium.

Fresh from the Tokyo Olympics last year, where, alongside James Hall he finished fourth in the men’s team final, Regini-Moran recorded TeamGB’s highest score on any apparatus in the final with 15.166 on the parallel bars. A multiple gold medallist as a junior, Birmingham could be the stage for Regini-Moran to return to championship-winning form.

Canterbury's Grace Balsdon. Picture: FFU Press Agency/Frank Uijlenbroek
Canterbury's Grace Balsdon. Picture: FFU Press Agency/Frank Uijlenbroek

Hockey: Grace Balsdon (ENG)

Any country with designs on gold in this year’s hockey tournament at the Games is going to have to get past Canterbury Hockey Club’s Grace Balsdon first. The defender was part of the squad that took home bronze in 2018, and with a partisan crowd behind her this time she’ll be hoping to reach the top step of the rostrum.

Part of TeamGB’s bronze-medal winning squad at the 2020 Olympics, Balsdon is an attacking threat, too. An expert at penalty corners, she scored the winner in the 4-3 third-fourth place play-off victory over India.

Ross William - no stranger to the international stage. Picture: Vid Ponikvar/Sportida
Ross William - no stranger to the international stage. Picture: Vid Ponikvar/Sportida

Table Tennis: Ross Wilson (ENG)

With medals at every Paralympics he has taken part in, Isle of Sheppey’s Ross Wilson has enjoyed a glittering career. However, along with his class eight title from the 2018 World Championships in Slovenia, the medal that glitters the most is arguably his gold from the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The TT6-10 singles champion from four years ago helped ParalympicsGB to class 8 team bronze in his last major championships in Tokyo last summer and, having celebrated his 27th birthday in June, he'll be at the peak of his powers - ideal timing for a home Games.

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