Tuesday marks two years to go until the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on the 28th July – and not even a global pandemic has stopped the Team England stars working hard to deliver success for the home nation in two years’ time.
Team England will release a set of fantastic images and video entitled ‘Team England 2020: United, Diverse and Successful’ which highlight how three athletes have been training hard during the Covid-19 crisis to ensure they are in the best shape possible to deliver medal success for England in Birmingham.
Team England gymnast, Courtney Tulloch, was one of the heroes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games after winning two gold medals.
He has had to change his training during Covid-19 pandemic while staying at home for long periods over the past four months. He has transformed his garden into an outdoor gym and even utilised a local park, once restrictions were lifted, to find an even more stimulating environment in which to train.
Tulloch said: ‘Gymnastics is a really difficult, if not virtually impossible, sport to replicate without access to all my usual equipment so the last few months have been tough.
‘They’ve been tough for the whole country but, in an odd way, I’ve kind of enjoyed the challenge of finding new ways to train. I’ve used my body more than ever and used household objects, or natural elements like trees in the park and outdoor spaces, to work on my strength and conditioning. It’s a relief that the restrictions are starting to lift though because I have missed my Team England teammates.
‘We have all kept in touch via social media to spur each other on but I can’t wait until we all meet up as we get ready for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. There is no other team quite like Team England. It includes athletes from all over the country, from all backgrounds and is the most representative team of England as it is today.
‘I am always proud to pull on the kit because it stands for something. For me, Team England is all about the diversity of athletes uniting together for a single purpose – to do our best for our country.’
Alice Tai MBE, gold medal para swimmer for Team England at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games said: ‘As athletes we have all had to adapt. I haven’t been able to swim in a pool for a period of time so have done lots of land-based training at home and have even ventured out to the sea on the South Coast.
‘As a para athlete, swimming in the sea in the UK can be a challenge but we all want to do whatever we can to keep up our training. Despite the sunshine, it was still a shock to the system to get into the water and very different from my normal training environment.
‘The last few months have been challenging for everyone in society. The role played by key workers has been phenomenal. They are simply the best people who have kept our nation going during the pandemic.
‘I know that all the Team England athletes want to pay tribute to the nurses, doctors, teachers and key workers who have done so much for us all. My Mum is a teacher and has worked all thought lockdown and, in my small way, I want to pay back all those key workers by winning gold in Birmingham in two years’ time.’
Basketball star Dominique Allen can’t wait for the Games to be held on her home patch. The Commonwealth silver medallist from Dudley can already see the excitement growing in the West Midlands.
She said: ‘The city is buzzing that the Commonwealth Games are coming to town. Team England has won over 700 medals at the Commonwealth Games and I was so proud to be one of those medallists on the Gold Coast.
‘I have no doubt that Team England will create a whole host of new golden moments in Birmingham in two years’ time. It’ll be the first time that 3×3 basketball and wheelchair basketball will be in the Games and for me it could be one of the best sports to watch. It’s so exciting to see the venue announced today, which will be an incredible backdrop to showcase the largest urban team sport in the world.
‘This is a city and region that loves sport and the Birmingham fans will make the Games one of the best ever, especially for the English athletes competing in front of a home crowd.’
You can follow Team England in their preparation for the Commonwealth Games via @TeamEngland on Twitter, officialteamengland on Instagram and via Team England – Commonwealth Games on Facebook