The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be a special occasion for all the athletes competing in Birmingham, but for the athletes representing Team England it will be even more special with it being a home Games.
Team England have topped the triathlon medal table at the last two Games and are the most successful nation in swim, bike and run since triathlon was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 when the Games was last hosted in England.
Two golds in PTWC paratriathlon and two silvers, including in the mixed relay, on the Gold Coast in 2018 took the total number of medals England have won in triathlon and paratriathlon to 11, including five golds.
Looking to add to that medal tally in Birmingham will be another strong squad with 14 athletes, including guides, selected to represent the host nation when the triathlon and paratriathlon events are held on Friday 29 and Sunday 31 July.
Only Sophie Coldwell has competed at the Commonwealth Games before, with the rest of the team making their debuts, but there is no shortage of international experience or success within the triathlon team which includes Olympic gold and silver medallist Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee.
Whilst in paratriathlon, the team includes the world and European champion winning pair of Dave Ellis and his guide Luke Pollard who will get the chance to race at the Commonwealth Games for the first when PTVI paratriathlon makes it Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.
Continuing with the trend of firsts, triathlon could be where Team England’s first medal of Birmingham 2022 is won with the triathlon individual races being the first medal event at Birmingham 2022.
Taylor-Brown and Yee will both be looking to add Commonwealth medals to their Olympic medals from Tokyo 2020 and both head to Birmingham having won two World Triathlon Championship Series events in 2022.
Coldwell was sixth in the Gold Coast four years ago and has multiple medals already this year, including bronze at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds, while Sian Rainsley, from Coventry, will race in her home region.
Rainsley has raced in Sutton Park as a junior and has gone onto have international success including winning medals at junior, U23 and elite level, her latest coming as part of the gold medal winning mixed relay team in Hamburg.
Joining Yee on the men’s start line will be Sam Dickinson and Dan Dixon who have both had medal success in 2022. Dickinson is a Europe Triathlon Cup medallist and was also part of both the mixed relay medal successes in Montreal and Hamburg.
Dixon was born the year the Commonwealth Games was last hosted in England and, along with being the reigning British senior and junior champion, he also claimed U23 silver at the European Championships earlier this summer.
On Sunday (31 July), the mixed relay returns to the Commonwealth Games programme for the third time with England winning gold in 2014 and silver in 2018.
England won both of the PTWC races when paratriathlon made its Commonwealth Games debut in 2018, when Joe Townsend and Jade Jones-Hall both won gold. Four years later, it’s the PTVI paratriathletes who get the opportunity to win their first Commonwealth Games medals in Birmingham on Sunday.
There are not many things left for Ellis to tick off in his career but the Commonwealth Games will one of them when he and his guide Luke Pollard take to the PTVI start line as reigning world and European champions.
Also representing England in the men’s PTVI race is Oscar Kelly, guided by Charlie Harding, who head to Birmingham off the back of winning their first World Triathlon Para Series medal in Montreal earlier this month.
Multiple world and European champion Iain Dawson is another athlete who ticks off one of the few events he hasn’t competed at with Dawson competing alongside his guide Duncan Shea-Simmonds.
Team England’s sole representative in the women’s PTVI race is Katie Crowhurst, who will represent the host nation only 12 months after completing her first triathlon having moved to paratriathlon from para-swimming during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Crowhurst and her guide Jess Fullagar raced for the first time at the recent British Paratriathlon Championships, with Fullagar currently ranked highly in the British Triathlon Senior Super Series.
Speaking ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony, Team England Triathlon Team Leader Jonny Riall said: “It’s been great to get all of the athletes together as a full team. I can’t wait to see them all line up and put in their best performance. The Commonwealth Games offers a unique opportunity to represent England and for our sports to prepare and compete together.
“It’s been a great environment having triathletes and paratriathletes on one team and I’m proud of how they’ve embraced the experience. As we approach race day, I know that every single athlete and staff member is looking forward to putting on the red and white kit.”
To find out more about Team England and the athletes who will represent the host nation, visit the dedicated Commonwealth Games page here.
(Image: Team England)