With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games just around the corner, it is safe to say excitement is building here at the University of Birmingham as we prepare to welcome athletes, coaches and spectators from all around the Commonwealth.
The University of Birmingham is the official host venue for hockey and squash, as well as hosting the largest athletes’ village and training venue for both swimming and athletics; being the official catering provider for athletes, spectators, Games family and workforce; providing accommodation for technical officials and sponsor workforce; and hosting multiple conferences and events across campus venues.
In addition to the above, we are delighted to share that a huge number of staff, students and alumni have been selected to represent their home nations in the Games.
Birmingham 2022 will showcase the very best talent from across the Commonwealth countries, which is why we are thrilled for the students who we have witnessed go from strength to strength this year earn this all-important selection. This includes dentistry student and European under-23 bronze medalist, Yasmin Javadian, who will be proudly representing Northern Ireland at the Games.
Third year student and University of Birmingham Sport Scholar Yasmin has achieved some remarkable accolades during her time at the University, proving she is more than capable of balancing her studies alongside international competition. As a Midlands native herself, we also know how much competing on home soil means to Yasmin, and she’s a fantastic example of the home-grown talent we have here at UoB.
That’s not the only good news for the UoB Judo Club, as Biology student Lauren Semple has also been selected to represent her home nation, Jamaica, in the Games. Lauren, who is also a valued member of the University’s netball club, has recently returned from the British University Judo Championships where she finished in fifth place. We are very much looking forward to following her inaugural Commonwealth Games appearance in Birmingham.
Fellow Judo scholars Rhys Thompson and Lachlan Moorhead will also be competing between Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 August, but will be representing Team England. Fresh from their performances at the recent European Championships, 81kg fighter Lachlan will join his fellow British Judo team mate Rhys, who will compete in the Men’s 100kg category.
One former student who we will be warmly welcoming back this summer is alumna, Gemma Atherley. Gemma, who was very recently a popular member of UoB Swimming Club, will return to Sport & Fitness to train for the Games, as she prepares to represent Team Jersey in this year’s 100m and 200m backstroke events. Netball alumna Hannah Leighton will also be returning to the Midland’s to represent Team Scotland at the NEC arena next month.
Congratulations are in order for alumna and TASS scholar Heather Cowell, who will be taking to the Coventry Arena to form part of England’s Rugby 7s team in the Games. Alumni Oscar Clayton has also been selected as an injury reserve for Team Jamaica.
After seventy-two athletes were confirmed for selection to represent Team England in the Games, there were plenty of reasons for the UoB Athletics Club to celebrate. The list included current student and sport scholar, Laura Zialor, who will compete in the high jump event. Laura will be joined in the Team England athletics camp by UoB alumni and fellow former athletics club member, Chris McAlister, who has been selected to compete in the 400m hurdles.
As news of selections have continued to roll in, Team England have also announced a current UoB student is set to join their 35 strong cycling squad at this year’s games. Sport scholar and Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student, Anna Henderson, will join the likes of five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny this summer as she competes in the road cycling event.
Another UoB student who has recently celebrated his selection to represent his home nation in the Commonwealth Games, is squash first team member and current Physics student, Muqtadir Nimji. A huge advantage for Muqtadir is he will compete on the same courts he trains and competes with the University’s squash team at UoB Sport & Fitness.
After some incredible performances for his club during this academic year, including at BUCS Big Wednesday and the University of Birmingham Squash Open, we are really excited to see what Muqtadir has to offer this summer.
It has been a long wait for our hockey stars, as several current students have patiently waited to hear if they too have been selected to join many of our hockey alumni at the Games.
We are delighted to confirm that current student and talented midfielder Lily Walker has been selected to represent Team England; Lily is already extremely familiar with the Birmingham 2022 hockey pitches after putting in some brilliant performances for the University this year. Having only made her international debut in April this year, 20-year-old Lily is the youngest member of this year’s senior Commonwealth squad, and we are really looking forward to seeing her compete on home soil.
Lily will no doubt be well supported by her UoB hockey predecessors, including Hannah Martin, Lily Owsley and Anna Toman, all of whom competed for Team England in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia. Congratulations to alumna Holly Hunt and Flora Peel who will also return to their familiar University pitches this summer. In total, one-third of Team England’s hockey squad is made up of students past and present from University of Birmingham! We are now eagerly awaiting the announcement of Team England men’s hockey team.
After competing in her first Commonwealth Games in Queensland back in 2018, current Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student, Amy Costello, has once again been selected to represent Team Scotland this summer.
Hockey Wales have also made the all-important Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games announcement recently, with a number of UoB alumni also set to represent their home nation at the Games. This includes Welsh alumni Holly Munro and Xenna Hughes (Women’s team), as well as Hywel Jones (Men’s team).
Following his successful journey at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year, we are thrilled that current PhD student and Para Powerlifting champion Ali Jawad MBE will be supporting at the Games this year. As a double Commonwealth Games medalist himself, Ali has been appointed to the board of Commonwealth Games England as an athlete representative.
Another athlete who we are also looking forward to cheering on once again is UoB alumna and Para Triathlete, Alison Peasgood. Alison will be competing for her home nation, Team Scotland. Joining Alison at Birmingham’s Sutton Park this summer is fellow UoB alumna and 2013 ITU World Champion, Non Stanford, who will be hoping to lead Team Wales to triathlon victory in this year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Finally, as well as proudly congratulating their selected students, one of our very own UoB coaches has also earned his place at this year’s Games. Luke Gunn will be taking a short break from his duties as Head of Athletics at University of Birmingham to work as part of Team England’s Endurance Support staff. Having competed in three Commonwealth Games himself, Luke will be sure to bring his experience, insight and knowledge with him.
We have so many reasons to celebrate the fantastic home-grown talent we have at the University of Birmingham, so congratulations to all of those who have been selected. We are also wishing the very best of luck to our athletes who are still waiting to hear, so watch this space for more Birmingham 2022 announcements.