This year’s Commonwealth Games hosted in Birmingham, truly shone the light on England’s resilience, dedication, and commitment to inclusivity. It was our most successful Games to date, with England securing its best medal result in the competition, thanks to a united effort from the athletes to the volunteers and the spectators. The event demonstrated how sport can bring people together and inspire.
Athletes from across the country showed up and fought for every medal. At the Arena Birmingham with the gymnastics, Essex’s Alice Kinsella won the women’s floor gold in momentous style. Fellow Essex gymnasts Brynn Bevan, Courtney Tulloch and Georgia Mae Fenton all performed incredibly, with Georgia retaining her title on the uneven bars.
In the boxing, Colchester’s Lewis Richardson battled hard to win bronze in the middleweight boxing which was a huge achievement and showed extreme drive and focus from him. Being in Birmingham meant there was a strong contingency of English supporters in the crowd. Hollie Wood, Assistant Relationship Manager at Active Essex shared: “Mass participation events generate such a positive and friendly environment that inspire people across communities to actively come together and get involved. Involvement may be through volunteering, spectating with friends and family or even trying a new activity at a community club. These events remind us how incredible sport and physical activity can be, bringing people together and creating such a buzz!”
However, it was not just the epic individual performances but also the incredible team performances such as the women’s hockey, who made history by winning their first ever gold at the games. Wheelchair basketball 3×3 made its debut at the games as Birmingham featured the largest para-sports programme in the Commonwealth Games history. It was also the first major sporting event to hand out more medals to women than men.
Hayley Chapman, Relationship Manager at Active Essex said, “It was fantastic to see the Para-athletes and non-para-athletes fully integrated into the Commonwealth Games, making it a truly inclusive event. We hope that disabled and non-disabled people across Essex were equally inspired by the great performances showcased over the 2 weeks of competition and can find their sport or activity of choice through our Find Your Active or Essex All Together campaigns”.
What we have seen from the athletes and teams across the games is heart and passion, whether they win or lose they give their all. It’s that energy and commitment that we want to help foster and evolve in Essex by helping people to find enjoyment in activity.
As Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace prize winner, so poignantly shared in her opening ceremony speech “When we watch the incredible athletes, we remember that every child deserves the chance to reach her full potential and pursue her wildest dreams,”. Birmingham’s energy, spirit and enthusiasm would surely have gone a long way to inspire that.
We are so proud of all the Team England athletes that have competed in the Games, especially our Essex athletes; Api Bavadra, Charlie Mcintyre, Jo Harten, Laura Stephens and many more. If you have a story to share please get in contact, as we would love to hear! If this has left you feeling inspired to try out something new, make sure to visit our activity finder to find new sports and activities near to you, click here