Who were the biggest winners and losers from Birmingham's Commonwealth Games?

·6 min read
Who were the biggest winners and losers from Birmingham's Commonwealth Games? - REUTERS
Who were the biggest winners and losers from Birmingham's Commonwealth Games? - REUTERS

Now all the brilliant action from Birmingham has come to a close, all the medals been handed out, and euphoria of a gripping Games died down it's time to take a step back and take stock of how the Home Nations did.

Who will leave England's second city with a smile on their face, who leaves with hope for the future, and who will depart knowing there is huge room for improvement. Here Telegraph Sport gives its verdicts on the winners and losers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Winners

Laura Kenny, cycling

Whether Kenny makes it to the Paris Olympics remains uncertain, with the five-time Olympic champion admitting she has contemplated retirement. Regardless, these Commonwealth Games proved she is still capable of brilliance.

After claiming team pursuit bronze, she returned to win a superb scratch race gold despite suffering a series of recent setbacks, including a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a broken shoulder and concussion.

British Cycling chiefs say they hope she does “keep going” and they will do all they can in providing support to find “the right balance” in her life.

Laura Kenny celebrates yet another gold to add to her collection - AP
Laura Kenny celebrates yet another gold to add to her collection - AP

England women’s hockey team

Things have not gone to plan since Britain claimed their dramatic Olympic hockey gold medal in 2016. They only managed bronze at last year’s Tokyo Games after winning the same medal as England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and they were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the recent World Cup.

They spectacularly returned to form in Birmingham, beating the pre-tournament favourites Australia to gold after yet another Maddie Hinch-inspired shootout win over New Zealand in the semi-finals. It was a much-needed confidence boost after a tricky few years.

Eilish McColgan, athletics

For so long living in the shadow of her hugely successful mother Liz, these Commonwealth Games were the making of Eilish McColgan, who claimed 10,000m gold - the first major international title of her career - and 5,000m silver for Scotland.

Aged 31, she is running better than ever. She had hoped to challenge for medals at the recent World Championships, only to suffer injury and illness beforehand.

Soon to step up to the marathon, it is uncertain whether she will focus on the track or road in future years, but her performances here proved that, when fully fit, she is not far off global medal contention.

Eilish McColgan had a Games to remember winning gold and silver - GETTY IMAGES
Eilish McColgan had a Games to remember winning gold and silver - GETTY IMAGES

Great new hopes

Jake Jarman, gymnastics

Jarman arrived in Birmingham as an almost total unknown outside of British gymnastics circles, but departed as the biggest breakout star. A reserve for the British team at last year’s Olympics, this was his first chance to shine on the international stage and he became the first Englishman ever to win four gymnastics medals at the same Commonwealth Games.

There is a huge step up from Commonwealth to global gymnastics standard, but hopes are high for the 20-year-old.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, diving

Before these Commonwealth Games, Spendolini-Sirieix was best known for being the daughter of Fred Sirieix, the French maitre d’ who found fame on Channel 4’s First Dates. She is now a name in her own right.

Already an Olympian, and a world and European medalist, Spendolini-Sirieix won two gold medals and a silver in Birmingham to become the most successful Englishwoman in any sport at these Games. Still only 17, the diving world seems to be hers to conquer.

Andrea Spendolini Sirieix celebrates winning her second Commonwealth title - PA
Andrea Spendolini Sirieix celebrates winning her second Commonwealth title - PA

Delicious Orie, boxing

Is Orie destined for stardom? It certainly seems that way. Few British sportspeople have a backstory to rival the man who was born and raised in Russia, left in part because his family were victims of racial discrimination, arrived in the Midlands unable to speak the language and only tried boxing aged 18.

But he also has the talent to match, showing technical ability and mental nous to recover from losing the opening round of his super-heavyweight final to claim gold. Orie, 25, boldly says he wants to emulate, and surpass, Anthony Joshua. Much will depend on how he fares at the Paris Olympics.

Losers

Adam Peaty, swimming

For someone to win a Commonwealth gold medal and still go home bitterly disappointed says a lot about the level that Peaty operates and the expectation he places on himself.

The triple Olympic champion said he reached “the lowest of the low” after failing to make the 100m breaststroke podium - his first defeat over the distance for eight years - although he returned to win 50m breaststroke gold.

Competing despite not having sufficient time to recover from a broken foot, he sent an ominous warning to his rivals after that victory, declaring: “I’ve got that renewed hunger now. I’ve got something to prove, and that’s when I’m dangerous.”

England cricket and netball teams

That both England’s cricket and netball teams left Birmingham without medals was disastrous.

A devastated Katherine Brunt said she felt like the cricket team had let the whole country down after defeat in their bronze-medal match, suggesting she might now retire. Ranked second in the world, the bare minimum expected of the side was to make the final, so to not even make the podium was a huge shock.

So, too, in netball, where England’s title defence ended surprisingly meekly in a comprehensive semi-final defeat against Australia, before they also succumbed to New Zealand in the bronze-medal match. Both teams underperformed when it mattered most.

Maia Bouchier, Danni Wyatt and Freya Kemp of Team England look dejected following defeat in the Cricket T20 - Bronze Medal match between Team England and Team New Zealand on day ten of the Birmingham 2022 - GETTY IMAGES
Maia Bouchier, Danni Wyatt and Freya Kemp of Team England look dejected following defeat in the Cricket T20 - Bronze Medal match between Team England and Team New Zealand on day ten of the Birmingham 2022 - GETTY IMAGES

Adam Gemili, athletics

It has been a desperately tough summer for sprinter Gemili, whose career now appears to be at a crossroads. After failing to advance from his 200m heat and being dropped for the 4x100m final at last month’s World Championships, he suggested “relentless bad press” surrounding his coach Rana Reider, who is under investigation for multiple sexual misconduct allegations, was to blame.

Gemili subsequently left Reider, who denies the allegations, but he failed to make the 200m final in Birmingham and was not selected for the relay.

As one of the nicest men in athletics, he will doubtless receive huge goodwill, but a major rebuilding process awaits.

In your view, which athletes demonstrated a standout performance in this year's Games? Tell us in the comments below