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England have to overtake arch-rivals Australia in the medal table, says team chief Mark England

We have to beat the Aussies! England must catch up with arch-rivals and top the Commonwealth Games medal list, says team chief, the aptly named Mark England… four years after Australia topped the tally in the Gold Coast

  • Chef de mission Mark England wants his country to beat Australia in the medals
  • Australia beat England in the medal tally on home soil in the Gold Coast in 2018
  • The Commonwealth Games is Britain’s biggest multi-sport event since London 2012

England have set themselves the goal of overtaking rivals Australia and top the medal tally in Birmingham 2022.

At the last Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, host nation Australia won the Ashes Battle with 198 medals, including 80 golds, compared to England’s 136 gongs, 45 of which were gold.

However, England are confident that this time they can use their home advantage to outperform the Aussies over the next 11 days.

Mark England wants home advantage to count as England battle Australia in the medal table

Mark England wants home advantage to count as England battle Australia in the medal table

“Our ambition is to be at the top of the medal table,” said Mark England, Team England’s aptly named chef de mission. ‘That’s what we’re here for.

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“It’s going to be a pretty good arm wrestle with Australia. Everyone wants to come to the host country and do the best they can against it.

“But we have 429 athletes and 500 support staff who absolutely want to be at the top of the medal tally — and we have a nation that wants to do just that. We’re going to give everything.

‘The difficult thing in this calendar year is that it is so busy. In athletics you had people who were at the World Cup last week and are here now and then the Europeans come.

“Other countries here in Birmingham don’t necessarily have the Europeans, so it’s quite challenging and physically demanding to keep our athletes peaking all the time.

“But some of them are getting faster, so we’re curious to see how they stack up against each other.

“I can’t say where we will be in two weeks, because sport is not predictable. But everything we could have done to support the athletes is in play.” In the England squad for the first time there are more women than men – 226 to 203 – and there are 67 ready athletes. The youngest athlete on the team is 17-year-old cricketer Freya Kemp and the oldest is Gill Platt, a 74-year-old para-lawn bowls player.

Birmingham 2022 is the biggest multi-sport event in this country since London 2012.

Emily Campbell, left, and Jack Laugher are England's flag bearers at the opening ceremony

Emily Campbell, left, and Jack Laugher are England’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony

And Emily Campbell, one of England’s flag bearers at Thursday’s opening ceremony, believes these Commonwealth Games can elevate the nation at home, just like the Olympics did 10 years ago.

“The legacy that came from 2012 has been fantastic and in Birmingham we are in a position to do something on that scale,” said the weightlifter.

“There are so many little boys and girls who want to come and watch these Games and that is huge for us as a nation.

“Birmingham is already buzzing and I have no doubt we’re going to crush it and hold one of the best Commonwealth Games ever.”

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