Today (April 19) marks 100 days to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
With the days and weeks ticking down and preparations intensifying, what does this milestone mean to athletes in-line to compete this summer?
Five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds has no shortage of major-Games experience, and is now a Board member at Birmingham 2022. Using that unique, combined experience, here she explains what the next few weeks will look and feel like for athletes.
“It’s a hugely exciting time.
“From my experience as an athlete, I know that the ‘100 days to go’ milestone always gets seized upon by the media, and you really begin to see much more activity related to the Games across the TV and on social media channels from this point on.
“As an athlete, I always tried to retain a healthy balance at this point. Of course, I was keen to embrace the excitement and the anticipation of everything that was going on, however I knew the importance of keeping my focus and concentration on the task in hand – to be in the best possible shape both physically and mentally, to compete in 100 days’ time.
“With this being a home Games for English athletes, and pretty close to a home Games for British athletes from the other home nations, all those usual emotions are due to be amplified.
“Our home Games at London 2012 was my second Paralympics, however I was still only 17, so I’m not sure I was fully able to take everything in and appreciate what a unique privilege it was to compete on the biggest stage in front of my home crowd, family and friends.
“For athletes in contention for selection for Birmingham, I’d say make the most of every bit of the experience, both pre and during the Games. Yes, retain that focus that we all need as professional athletes, but also truly relish competing on the world stage in front of home support – it’s not an experience that every athlete gets to enjoy.
“Due to my role on the Board at Birmingham 2022, I’ve seen first-hand the huge amounts of work that are going into making this event the absolute best that it can be.
“We all know the challenges that the sporting world has faced due to the pandemic, but everyone involved with the Commonwealth Games is determined that this event is a genuine celebration of sport, and of the athletes at its heart.
“I’m looking forward to the next 100 days as we count down to competition getting under way, and hope that all athletes have an incredible experience.”