The opening day of competition at the Commonwealth Games promises to be huge, with some of Australia’s top medal hopefuls in action.
From the pool to the cricket pitch, the Australian team will be there to make an impression in Birmingham.
Follow all the main talking points, breaking news and results from our team of experts in Birmingham via our live blog.
WARNING CONDOM FOR COMM GAMES ATHLETES
Stock up on sunscreen, hats and condoms – and be aware of monkeypox at Birmingham 2022.
That’s the advice of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to the tens of thousands of visitors attending the Commonwealth Games.
The UKHSA warns of the possible spread of infections in the city, as well as sexually transmitted diseases and the effects of hot weather combined with excessive alcohol consumption.
OPENING CEREMONY REVIEW: ENGLAND’S MESSAGE OF INCLUSION
While the weather is expected to be sunny and warm during the Games, Caryn Cox, health protection consultant with UKHSA West Midlands, advises people to stay hydrated and practice safer sex.
“The Met Office is planning a scorching few weeks during the Games so we should all apply sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, seek shade at the hottest times of the day (11am to 3 p.m.) and stay hydrated. .
“With so many people congregating to watch the Games and enjoy the celebratory events taking place across the region, there is a greater risk of infections spreading, whether it is a stomach bug which can be spread through poor hand hygiene or infections such as COVID-19.
“In either case, it’s best to stay home if you’re sick. Additionally, it is advisable to be up to date with your routine vaccinations, such as MMR, MenACWY, and COVID-19 before you mingle with a lot of people.
“With a party atmosphere and a lot of people visiting the area, it is really important to practice safer sex, to prevent the possible spread of sexually transmitted infections. So, remember to use condoms, and if you’ve had unprotected sex, get tested for STIs.
“Although monkeypox is not an STI, it can be transmitted through close physical contact, so watch out for any symptoms and contact a sexual health clinic if you think you might have this or any other sexually transmitted infection.”
WHAT’S THIS ? SEE THE FULL CALENDAR OF COMM GAMES HERE
HOST COUNTRY DISCLAIMER FOR AUSSIES
Game on, England.
There may be 72 countries in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, but it’s the rivalry between the two big nations that is the main event.
England fired the first shot this week when chef de mission Mark England said the number one priority was to finish ahead of Australia in the medal standings.
But with the Aussies predicting over 80 medals in pool alone, it won’t be an easy task.
At the last Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, host nation Australia won the Battle of the Ashes with 198 medals, 80 of which were gold, compared to England’s 136 gongs, of which 45 were gold.
“Our aspiration is to top the medal table,” said Mark England, the aptly appointed England team chef de mission. ‘That’s what we’re here for.
“It will be a very good tussle with Australia. Everyone wants to come to the host country and do their best against them.
“But we have 429 athletes and 500 support staff who absolutely want to top the medal table – and we have a nation who want to do it too. We will give it everything.
“I can’t say where we will be in two weeks because the sport is not predictable.
“But everything we could have done to support the athletes is at stake.”
In the England squad, there are more women than men – 226 to 203 – for the first time and there are 67 para-athletes.
Birmingham 2022 is this country’s biggest multi-sport event since London 2012.
Australian Chef de Mission Petria Thomas said the team was determined to finish number one.
“I think, you know, we made no secret of the fact that we would like to finish on top of the medal,” she said.
“We had a very good Commonwealth Games at home on the Gold Coast, but we’re a long way from home and it’s always harder when you’re away. And we are also on English soil.
“So we are well aware that it will be a fight, but I think the athletes will compete with such a spirit that they will fight for every result.
“Hopefully we can give him a good chance and take back that number one spot.”
Originally published as Commonwealth Games Day 1 Live: Latest news, results and talking points from Birmingham