COMMONWEALTH GAMES: WHO TO WATCH FROM THE SOUTH COAST
1st April 2018
The 2018 Commonwealth Games are less than a week away and Team England will include 30 athletes from the south coast.
The games will take place on the Gold Coast, Australia, from the 4th to the 15th April and below is South Coast Journalism's guide to which athletes will be representing our area.
The guide includes athletes from our main Weymouth to Portsmouth region but also from further down the coast as far as Plymouth.
If we have missed anyone out, please feel free to let us know! Sources: Team England and Commonwealth Games 2018 websites.
FEATURED ATHLETE: KELLY SIMM
Sport: Artistic Gymnastics
Schedule: 5th - 9th April
Dynamo School of Gymnastics star Kelly Simm will go into the 2018 Commonwealth Games as the British All-Around champion following a stunning performance at the British Championships last month.
The talented Hamble-based Gymnast also secured the bars title at the event which completed a brilliant comeback from almost two years worth of injuries and set-backs.
Kelly is still recovering from surgery last year but has put in some excellent performances in recent competitions to put her back on track.
She helped Team England to Commonwealth gold at Glasgow in 2014 and is also a World University Games champion. Kelly has several silver and bronze medals to her name as well at national and international events.
Simm has featured regularly on South Coast Journalism since 2015. Friendly, determined and dedicated, she is an excellent role model for young athletes.
Kelly Simm (Photo: BC Photographic)
ONE'S TO WATCH:
VICTORIA PALMER AND JESS GRIMSON
Jess Grimson (left) & Victoria Palmer - Photo: Team England Official
Sport: Beach Volleyball
Schedule: 6th - 12th April
Bournemouth's Beach Volleyball representatives at the 2018 Commonwealth Games comprises of Victoria Palmer & Jess Grimson.
Both Victoria & Jess will be making their Team England debuts at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 but are currently the number one ranked pair in the UK.
Beach Volleyball is also making it's debut at the Commonwealth Games and Victoria & Jess could be set to write some important history for their country.
WHO ELSE IS LOCAL TO SCJ?
ALICE TAI MBE
Sport: Swimming (S10 classification)
Schedule: 5th - 10th April (all swimming events)
Alice Tai MBE (pictured) is one of Dorset's most decorated athletes and the New Milton based 19-year-old is two-time Paralympic medalist from Rio 2016.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be Alice's debut for England and she will hopefully be able to add to her Rio Paralympic 4x100m gold and her S10 100m backstroke bronze.
Sport: Swimming (200m Butterfly)
Schedule: Saturday 7th April
Jacob Peters, who also trains at Poole Swimming Club, is another debutante for Team England and is the current British junior record holder as well as a silver medalist at the Swim England National Winter Championships.
Schedule: 5th - 15th April
Southampton-based goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was a part of the amazing Team GB gold medal winning hockey squad from Rio 2016, helping to win the final with an excellent performance in the shoot-out, keeping out all four one-on-one's against the Netherlands.
This will be Maddie's second appearance at the Commonwealth Games and she has a silver medal to her name from Glasgow in 2014. Team England's 'keeper has also won gold in the 2015 World League semi-finals and 2015 EuroHockey Championships.
Add silver medals from the World League final, 2013 EuroHockey championships and three bronze medals from the same competitions in 2011 and 2017, Maddie has already enjoyed a successful career but the talented shot-stopper will be hoping to help her team to another medal in 2018.
Schedule: 8th - 14th April
Representing the Purbeck Shooting School at her first Commonwealth Games, Poole's Emily Hibbs will be competing at Belmont Shooting Centre as a part of Team England's squad, specifically in the shotgun discipline.
At just 19, Emily is still in the early stages of her career but will be hoping for a good result in her Commonwealth Gamesdebut in Australia.
Schedule: 8th - 14th April
From the Army Target Shooting Club, Sam Gowin will be one of two Portsmouth-based athletes representing Team England in Australia. Sam is a Royal Artillery Sergeant with the 16 Regiment Royal Artillery and will be competing in the rapid-fire pistol event.
Sam has been producing some solid results recently including a top 8 finish at the International Shooting Competition in Hannover, a 6th at the IWK Walther Arena in 2017 and he represented Great Britain at the 2017 ISAS Championships.
Sport: Athletics (10,000m)
Schedule: Friday 13th April
Andy Vernon, who represents the Aldershot, Farnham & District athletics club, is originally from Fareham and is one of the south coast's most successful athletes competing at this years Commonwealth Games.
Andy, pictured on his way to a 6th place finish at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is a team gold medalist from the 2016 European Cross Country Championships, has a bronze at the same championships in 2013, as well as beinga silver and bronze medalist at the 2014 European Championships.
AMY WILSON HARDY
Sport: Rugby Sevens
Schedule: 13th - 15th April
Poole's Amy Wilson Hardy was a part of the brave Great Britain squad that narrowly missed out on a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, winning the hearts of the nation in the process.
Wilson Hardy has enjoyed a reasonably successful career so far and represented England during the Rugby World Cup. She scored to help her country reach the final where they finished as runner's up to New Zealand.
Schedule: 5th - 8th April
Joseph Truman will represent Team England in his Commonwealth Games debut next week. From Portsmouth, Joseph competes for the I-Team Cycling Club.
He will be racing in the track cycling discipline at the Anna Mears Velodrome.
Joseph has two international medals to his name including a team sprint silver at the 2016 UEC European Track Championships and a World Championships' silver this year in the same discipline.
Sport: T38 Long Jump
Schedule: Sunday 8th April
At 16, Molly Kingsbury will be one of the youngest representatives for Team England next week. The Poole-born teenager will make her Commonwealth Games debut in the T38 Long Jump.
Molly is now at Bracknell Athletics Club and was 4th in the Under 18's T35/T38 Long Jump competition at this year's World Para Athletics Junior Championships.
HOMEGROWN INTERNATIONAL STARS
Schedule: 5th - 15th April
Originally from Bournemouth, Geva Mentor (pictured) currently plays for Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia.
The 33-year-old has bags of Commonwealth Games experience and will be representing England in her fifth games in 2018. She won bronze medals in 2006 and 2010. Last year, she was named Player of the Year for the Suncorp Super Netball season.
Sport: Table Tennis
Schedule: 5th - 15th April
Born in Southampton, David McBeath is now being coached at the Eslövs Btk club in Sweden. 2018 will be his first appearance at the Commonwealth Games. The 25 year-old has a European Youth Championships team bronze in 2010 to his name.
FURTHER ALONG THE COAST
Schedule: 11th - 14th April
Tom Daley is one of the better known faces representing England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He was born and grew up in Plymouth.
Now based predominantly at Dive London, Daley will compete at his third games, this time as defending champion following his gold & silver medals at Glasgow in 2014.
Tom is also a two-time Olympic bronze medalist, a five-time world championships medalist and has four European gold medals to his name. For those who don't know, he competes in both individual and synchronised diving competitions.
Tom specialises in the 10m platform which is the discipline he won both his Olympic medals in and is a double world champion in.
ALSO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Alison Yearling (Plymouth) Lawn Bowls
Cameron Kurle (Yeovil) Swimming
Charles Grice (Brighton) Athletics
David King (Plymouth) Athletics
Giselle Ansley (Plymouth) Hockey
Hannah Martin (Hove) Artistic Gymnastics
Harry Gibson (Plymouth) Hockey
James Arnott (Plymouth) T47 100m
Jessica Breach (Chichester) Rugby Sevens
Jessica Jackson (Plymouth) Swimming
Katie Gleeson (Chichester) Shooting
Laurn Stephens (Plymouth) Swimming
Matthew Dixon (Plymouth) Diving
Steve Simmons (Yeovil) Lawn Bowls
Thomas Fannon (Plymouth) Swimming
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