Laura Kenny leading medal bid after spectacular opening to Commonwealth Games

Alex Yee and James Wilby will also be contending for podium places.

By Press Association Published: 29 July 2022 - 3.30am

Laura Kenny, Alex Yee and James Wilby are among the Tokyo medallists targeting the podium as the Commonwealth Games gets under way in Birmingham on Friday.

With medals on offer across four sports on the opening day of action, the PA News Agency picks out five prospective home nation highlights.

Swimming

2022 British Swimming Championships – Day Two – Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre
James Wilby will hope to add to his Commonwealth Games medal haul (Zac Goodwin/PA)

James Wilby will be looking to kickstart England’s gold rush in the pool as he defends his men’s 200 metres breaststroke title. Scotland’s Ross Murdoch, who finished runner-up to Wilby on the Gold Coast four years ago, may have other ideas. Birkenhead’s Freya Anderson is in the women’s 200m freestyle alongside Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus, while Wales’ Dan Jervis is in the men’s 400m freestyle.

Cycling

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Previews – Thursday 28th July
Laura Kenny is targeting her second Commonwealth Games gold medal (John Walton/PA)

Dame Laura Kenny will be in action when the track cycling gets under way at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London, racing alongside Josie Knight, Maddie Leech and Grace Lister in the women’s team pursuit. And husband Jason will be coaching as Ryan Owens, Joe Truman and Hamish Turnbull chase gold in the men’s team sprint.

Gymnastics

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Five
Joe Fraser will compete in front of his home city fans (Mike Egerton/PA)

Birmingham-born Joe Fraser, the former world champion on parallel bars, will lead England’s bid to retain their men’s team title at the NEC on a day that also doubles as individual qualifications. Experienced duo Frank Baines and Hamish Carter will hope to steer Scotland into at least the silver medal position, while Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan attempts to qualify on pommel.

Triathlon

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Three
Alex Yee grabbed a silver medal in Tokyo (Martin Rickett/PA)

Alex Yee is a big favourite to build on his silver medal from the Tokyo Olympics as he stars in the men’s triathlon. The outcome of the women’s event is far less cut and dried with Georgia Taylor-Brown, like Yee a double medallist in Japan, facing stiff competition from former world champion Non Stanford, who is representing Wales, and another world champion in Bermuda’s Flora Duffy.

Netball

Commonwealth Games Package
England’s netball stars are aiming to retain their Commonwealth Games crown (Martin Rickett/PA)

England’s bid to retain the netball title they won so thrillingly on the Gold Coast kicks off with a Group B game against Trinidad and Tobago. Featuring a sizeable contingent of players who were present on the Gold Coast, Jess Thirlby’s side are full of confidence, but are sure to have to overcome perennial favourites Australia and New Zealand once again.

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