Birmingham 2022 will mark the first Commonwealth Games in England for 20 years.
Manchester 2002 was at the time the biggest multi-sport event ever to be held in the UK, and welcomed almost 4,000 athletes from across the Commonwealth, including sizeable contingents from all Home Nations.
Beth Tweddle claimed a gold and two silver medals for England at the Games, and here speaks of the boost of home support, the dynamic between Home Nations competitors, and what all British athletes may be able to expect when they compete for their respective nations in Birmingham.
“That Commonwealth Games in Manchester was my first experience of a major multi-sport event, and it was unbelievable.
“The home crowd in Manchester – although on a smaller scale to what we experienced at the London Olympics ten years later – was incredible, and was my first experience of competing in front of a large crowd, as I’m sure Birmingham 2022 may be for some current athletes.
“I absolutely loved it, but I also had a number of friends at that Games competing for the other Home Nations. Although the crowd was predominantly English – again, as we’ll see in Birmingham – I know Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish athletes who have some amazing memories from that Games.
“They still counted it as competing in front of a ‘home’ crowd, and really embraced the support which they got.
“In that regard, I’d advise all Home Nations athletes competing for selection for Birmingham to be safe in the knowledge that you can really focus on the job at hand, and do justice and your support network justice, while also enjoying every bit of the experience at the same time.
“All those athletes selected will have worked so hard to get there, so make sure you make the most of the experience – both in terms of competing on such a stage and thriving off the energy of a home crowd.
“For many athletes, a home multi-sport Games such as this will be a once in a career experience, so whichever of the Home Nations they are representing, I’d encourage all athletes to enjoy every moment and treasure the memories that you are sure to create.”