Aussie para-athletes achieving big things at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games

This year marks the 20th anniversary since the incorporation of para-sporting events into the Commonwealth Games.

Para-sports were officially introduced in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and the program has only grown since then. The Birmingham Games includes the largest number of para-events in history.

Currently, 74 para-athletes are representing Australia across eight sports, in 42 events, and they are absolutely dominating the medal tally.

Vision impaired cyclist Jessica Gallager claimed Australia's first gold of the Commonwealth Games in the tandem sprint, accompanied by her sighted pilot, Caitlin Ward. The duo began racing together in February and already everything they touch turns to gold. Showing off their skills in 1000m tandem time trial, Gallager and Ward claimed another win finishing the Games unbeaten.

For the first time 3x3 basketball has been included in the Commonwealth Games and Australia’s para-athletes have claimed a podium place in every class.

The men’s 3x3 wheelchair basketball team was ensured a podium place thanks to a stunning overtime two-pointer by Lachlin Dalton in the epic semi-final against England. A powerful performance by Luke Pople then secured the gold for Australia in their 11-9 win over Canada.

On Saturday Madison de Rozario powered though the T53/54 marathon. She broke the Commonwealth Games record time to complete the course in only 1 hour and 56 minutes, crossing the finish line nearly 4 minutes ahead of second place.

De Rozario could not be beaten, taking the gold again in the T53/54 1500m final. Her wheelchair was damaged on the flight to Birmingham, but even that couldn’t stop the 28-year-old from successfully defending her Commonwealth title in both events.

On Friday 29 July Ellie Cole dove into the pool for the last time in her career as an athlete. Australia’s most decorated Paralympian finished the women’s 100m S9 freestyle final in fifth place. But the 2022 Commonwealth Games weren’t about winning for Cole, they were a chance to say goodbye to the sport and the community that changed her life. She relished the chance to sit in the stands after her race and cheer on her teammates who represent the exciting future of para-swimming.

Ellie Cole is looking to her future after swimming with just as much determination. Becoming a Paralympian gave Cole privileges that would have been otherwise inaccessible to her as woman with disability. Cole hopes to provide more people with the opportunities she had as an athlete, in any career they choose. Pursuing a future advocating for people with disabilities, Cole is aiming to make communities more inclusive and accessible.

Tonight, Jake Fehlberg will defend his title in the mixed pairs B2/B3 lawn bowls; and with Australia athletes in every class the table tennis competition this weekend will be fierce. There is lots more to come for para-athletes in this Commonwealth games.

You can watch your favourite para-athletes live and catch up on all the thrilling moments of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games at 7plus

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