If you tuned in to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games closely, you may have noticed a game changing milestone for para-sports.
Para-athletes from across the Commonwealth headed to Birmingham to compete across eight different sports, the most in Commonwealth Games history. From the eight sports including: 3x3 wheelchair basketball, aquatics, powerlifting, athletics, cycling, lawn bowls, table tennis and triathlon, there were 42 medal events for athletes to compete in.
The future of para-sport continued to evolve, with organisers of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games hosting the largest ever fully integrated para-sport program in history - continuing the Games impressive inclusive ties, that see the Commonwealth Games as the only fully inclusive international multi-sport games in the world.
Rowan Crothers OAM, Australian Paralympic Freestyle Swimmer said what he loves most about the Commonwealth Games, is that it’s the only international level competition, where abled-bodied athletes and athletes with a disability can compete together at the same competition.
“There is no form of separation, which is really incredible to see,” he said.
Australia also set a record for inclusivity, of the 435 athletes that competed for Australia at the Games, 74 of those identify as having a disability. Making this the largest ever para-athlete representation that competed in a Commonwealth Games for Australian across all eight para-sports right alongside their able-bodied sporting colleagues.
There is no doubt that Australia dominated the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and there is a lot to celebrate - winning a massive total of 178 medals, 35 of those being awarded to our para-athletes.
Here is just a few of the noteworthy moments by our athletes:
- Timothy HODGE broke the Commonwealth Games Record in the Men’s 100m para backstroke earning himself the gold medal.
- Katja DEDEKIND won gold and took out the Commonwealth Games Record for women’s 50m para freestyle.
- Kyle CHALMERS proved himself as fierce competition in the pool, taking home the Commonwealth Games Record in the men’s 100m Freestyle and gold.
- Madison de ROZARIO continued to show the world what an incredible athlete she is by breaking records and winning gold in both the Women's T53/54 1500m and Women's T53/54 Marathon.
- Eileen CIKAMATANA won multiple gold medals in the weightlifting Women’s 87kg.
- Oliver HOARE stole the show during the 1500m Men’s final to win gold, with his epic win being crowed one of the greatest races in Australian history.
- Australian teams also broke multiple records, winning gold for the Men’s 4x 100m, 200m Freestyle Relay, Men’s Cycling Team Sprint, 3x3 Wheelchair Basketball and Women’s 4000m Team Pursuit.
Read more about the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games results here, including records broken and medals won.
In 2026 the Commonwealth Games will head back to Australia for the sixth time. This time hosted in Victoria, the state is looking at another world first, by including a multi-city regional focus. Geelong, Bendigo, Ballart and Gippsland are set to be added to the Commonwealth Games map, with the state set on increasing inclusivity, the 2026 Games committee plan to release more opportunities for para-athletes to compete by adding to the current six para-sports traditionally available.
“It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a disability, or what your gender, race, or age is - we’re all people and we all have the capacity to do great things,” said Rowan.
“Giving people opportunities to be successful, has the flow on effect where younger children, and younger people, that have disability or see themselves as being different, can be inspired and think wow, this is something I want to chase, and I want to pursue,” he said.
What was your favourite moment from this year’s Commonwealth Games? And which sports would you like to see in 2026?