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Women will be winners at CWG

The quadrennial event opens on Thursday in Birmingham
There’ll be 136 gold medals awarded to women, 134 on offer for men, and 10 in mixed events when the 11-day Commonwealth Games
There’ll be 136 gold medals awarded to women, 134 on offer for men, and 10 in mixed events when the 11-day Commonwealth Games
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PTI   |   Birmingham   |   Published 28.07.22, 03:43 AM

The long-established Commonwealth Games will be bringing in something new. The quadrennial event that opens on Thursday in Birmingham will be the first multi-sport international meet to host more medal events for women than for men, and is running in tandem with its largest ever para sport programme.

There’ll be 136 gold medals awarded to women, 134 on offer for men, and 10 in mixed events when the 11-day Commonwealth Games, which started out in 1930 as the British Empire Games, is staged in England for the third time. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could be lining up for one of them, just weeks after she won the 100 metres at the World Championships in Eugene.

The 35-year-old Jamaican, a five-time world champion in the 100 and three-time Olympic gold medalist, has never claimed an individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Fraser-Pryce led a medal sweep for Jamaica in the 100m at the World Championships in front of Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

She finished second to Jackson in the 200m, with Dina Asher-Smith of Britain taking bronze to prevent a back-toback sprint sweep for Jamaica. After finishing off with a silver medal with the Jamaican women’s 4x100 relay, Fraser-Pryce posted a message to fans on Facebook: “See you at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham!” Asher-Smith had already started thinking about Birmingham when she took bronze in the 200.

“Can’t wait to go to the Commonwealth Games next week, halfway across the world!” she said in a post-race interview with the BBC.  However, Asher-Smith was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games after picking up a hamstring injury, Team England said in a statement on Wednesday. A highlight of the Games is the inclusion of women’s cricket for the first time, and World Cup champion Australia will be seeking to add to its recent dominance.

The Australians are weighing up whether they’ll march in the opening ceremony, which is the night before their big opening match against India. Australia coach Shelley Nitschke on Tuesday said the team’s priority was continuing its winning run in the big events. “(There) is big motivation. It is the first one,” she said. “We are really keen to put our best foot forward and hopefully add a gold medal to the mix.”

A medal is also the main target for India, runners-up to Australia at the last T20 World Cup. “This tournament is very important for us,” India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said. “This time we’re playing for medals. We’ve grown (up) watching these ... and this time we’re glad we’re also getting opportunities to be part of this big event.” Like all major events in the Covid-19 pandemic, there’ll be athletes among the roughly 5,000 attending from 72 nations or territories who’ll be impacted by the coronavirus.



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