Sussex athletes to watch out for at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

SUSSEX athletes are set to compete in the biggest Commonwealth Games of all time, which officially open in Birmingham today.

The leaders of England, Australia and Canada are joined by smaller territories such as Norfolk Island, which is represented by 14 lawn bowlers.

The games take place almost ten years to the day since London welcomed the world to the London 2012 Olympics.

The Argus: Ben Hickling receives a Sport Brighton Award at the University of BrightonBen Hickling receives a Sport Brighton Award at the University of Brighton

Among those from Sussex representing England and aiming for gold is University of Brighton student Ben Hickling.

Ben is aiming for Commonwealth success on the England weightlifting team, competing in the men’s 55kg category, a class in which he is number one in the UK.

Ben accidentally got into the sport after being asked to come along to a training session to keep a friend company.

He said: “I saw someone else lift weights, asked him who his coach was and the rest is history – but I never thought I’d be competing in the Commonwealth Games. Lifting weights is a fun way to keep fit while taking the stress out of life.”

Another University of Brighton student, Jess Gordon-Brown, will compete in weightlifting in the 59kg category, where she is number one in the UK.

She said: “I’m delighted to be part of Team England. We’ve got a really strong team this year – and it’s nice to be with Ben, a fellow student from Brighton.”

The Argus: Team England weightlifter Jess Gordon-BrownTeam England weightlifter Jess Gordon-Brown

Meanwhile, cricketer Freya Davies, 26, will make her first Commonwealth games debut as part of the England cricket team after representing the country at this year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup in February.

Brighton’s Tom Bowden will also represent the nation and county at games over the next few weeks as part of the Rugby Sevens squad.

Tom, who started rugby in nearby Lewes at the age of six, made his England Sevens debut at a tournament in Queensland in 2014 and was part of the reserves squad at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Holly Heffron, 19, from Chichester will also be in contention for a podium spot in boxing after being crowned England Senior Elite National Champion at 54kg in April.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games begins at 8pm tonight at the Alexander Stadium and will be attended by the Prince of Wales. Sussex athletes to watch out for at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

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