Penrith athletes set to shine at Commonwealth Games – The Western Weekender
The 2022 Commonwealth Games are about to begin in Birmingham, England, with local sports fans having several athletes with a Penrith connection to cheer on.
Penrith netball player Paige Hadley will make her Commonwealth Games debut when she steps onto the pitch as a member of the Australian Diamonds netball team.
The 29-year-old, vice-captain of the NSW Swifts in the Super Netball competition, will play a pivotal role in her team’s quest for Commonwealth gold.
The netball program begins on Friday, with Australia taking on Barbados in the opener.
Madison Ashby, 21, a resident of Jamisontown, is also making her Commonwealth Games debut.
The Tokyo Olympian, born in Penrith and schooled in Emu Plains, will represent the Australian women’s rugby 7s team when the competition kicks off on Friday against Scotland.
Australia are heavy favorites to win a medal in Rugby 7s, with Ashby expected to play a key role as playmaker and one of the team leaders.
Kingswood turf thrower Carl Healey will compete in the men’s triple and men’s quadruple events when he makes his Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham this week.
The 35-year-old has represented NSW since 2012 and was finally called up to the Jackraoos national team in January last year.
Healey, who trained on slow greens specially prepared at Penrith Bowling Club to reflect British conditions, started bowls in 2000 after his parents and cousin had all taken up the sport.
Penrith-born diving champion Melissa Wu is aiming to win her fifth Commonwealth Games medal.
The 30-year-old, who won bronze in Tokyo last year, will compete in the women’s 10m synchro platform and mixed 10m synchro platform events when the diving program begins next week.
Wu is one of Team Australia’s most experienced athletes, competing in her fifth Games.
On the track, Joshua Azzopardi, 22, will make his Commonwealth Games debut as part of the men’s 4x100m relay team.
The Penrith-born sprinter won a PB at the Oceania Athletics Championships in June, winning a bronze medal for his 10.27 100m effort.
The athletics program will begin next week at Alexander Stadium.
Finally, four Penrith-born swimmers will be chasing medals in the Sandwell Aquatics Center pool.
Matthew Wilson, 23, will be looking for his third Commonwealth Games medal in the men’s 200m breaststroke, while Madison Wilson, 28, will be competing in her second Commonwealth Games in the women’s backstroke.
Visually impaired athlete Oscar Stubbs will make his Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham when he competes in the men’s S13 50m freestyle, while Ella Jones, 21, who has cerebral palsy, will compete in the 100m events backstroke S8 and 100m breaststroke SB6. .
Overall, the Australian team will consist of 435 athletes including 231 women, 203 men and one non-binary.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be broadcast live on Seven Network and 7plus from today.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s associate editor and senior sports editor. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at The Weekender for a decade.