Commonweath Games in Warwickshire a 'huge boost to our international recognition' - The Rugby Observer

Commonweath Games in Warwickshire a 'huge boost to our international recognition'

Rugby Editorial 9th Aug, 2022   0

IT was sunshine all the way as the Commonwealth Games came to Warwickshire.

Large crowds lined the streets in and around Warwick to watch the cycling road races – one of the few events people were able to watch for free.

Organised jointly by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and Warwick District Council (WDC), both the men’s and women’s races started and finished in the town on Sunday (August 8).

The riders followed a 16 kilometre circuit which took in Warwick, Leamington, Hampton on the Hill and Hampton Magna.

Spectators gathered along the route created a fantastic atmosphere, applauding all who passed by.

Riders ranged from amateurs to big name professionals such as former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, representing Wales, and star sprinter Mark Cavendish riding for the Isle of Man.

Australian Georgina Baker took gold in a sprint finish, and fellow countrywomen Sarah Roy the bronze, with Scotland’s Neah Evans splitting the Aussie pair to take silver.

The men’s race produced a thrilling climax, with New Zealand’s Aaron Gate first to the line to collect his fourth gold of the games following three on the track. South African Daryl Impey took silver and Scotland’s Finn Crockett bronze.

WCC leader Coun Izzi Seccombe said: “What a fantastic day for Warwickshire! We’ve been treated to a magnificent day of action and excitement thanks to all the competitors and spectators. Once again, Warwickshire has shown that it is the go-to county for hosting world class cycling events after the success in recent years of the Women’s Tours and the Tour of Britain.

“We have again made the most of the opportunity to showcase everything the area has to offer to an international audience. With millions watching on television around the world, the event has also been a huge boost to our international recognition.”

It proved another great success for the county, having already received widespread praise for its hosting of the Birmingham 2022 lawn bowls and para lawn bowls competitions at the greens in Leamington’s Victoria Park.

From Northern Ireland to the Norfolk Islands, and from Jersey to Jamaica, competitors from more than 20 countries and territories battled it out for the medals in singles, pairs, triples and fours competitions until Saturday (August 6).

Lawn bowls has been played at Victoria Park since 1909 and the current five Warwick District Council-cared for greens are now recognised as among the best in the world.

They annually host the Bowls England National Championships, and have twice been the venue for the Women’s World Championships – but they have never seen anything on the scale of the Birmingham 2022 games.

Up to 5,000 fans per day watched the action at the venue from specially erected grandstands.

Across 11 events, Autralia came out on top with three gold medals and three silvers.

England finished third with two golds, two silvers and three bronzes – including a gold medal for Rugby’s Jamie-Lea Winch in the women’s triples alongside Natalie Chestney and Sian Honnor.

WDC leader Coun Andrew Day said: “The faces of our visitors beaming as they joined the events we’ve hosted across the district reflect not only the years of preparation, but the warm welcome given by hundreds of wonderful local volunteers.

“It has been a joyful time to join our guests and wholeheartedly celebrate these friendly Games, sharing with all 54 nations visiting our extraordinary and beautiful corner of the Commonwealth.”

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