Commonwealth Games: Canada’s picks to click in Glasgow

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Commonwealth Games are one of the largest multi-sport events in the world but they fly a bit under the radar in North America because the Americans aren’t invited.

But 200 Canadian athletes are counting down the days until they fly to Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 Games, July 23 to Aug 4. Here’s a look at the disciplines and Canada’s top medal hopes:

Olympic sports
Athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, diving, gymnastics, field hockey, judo, rugby sevens, shooting, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling.

Commonwealth-specific sports
Lawn bowls: Played on a bowling green, the object is to get the ball as close to a small white ball, called a jack, making it a bit like a summer version of curling.

Netball: An offshoot of basketball, with seven players a side and rules that force constant passing and shooting. Historically, Australia and New Zealand have dominated.

Squash: This high-speed racquet sport is played inside walled glass courts. It’s also a Pan Am Games event that has tried for years to get into the Olympics.

Canadian stars to watch for
Derek Drouin: Since winning a bronze medal in high jump at the 2012 London Olympics, he’s become the most decorated high jumper in NCAA history and holder of the ever-increasing Canadian record. Most recently he raised that record to 2.40 metres, a height that only a handful of jumpers in the world have ever reached.

Ryan Cochrane: The two-time Olympic medallist in 1,500-metre freestyle (silver in London and bronze in Beijing) is looking to defend his Commonwealth titles. In 2010, he won gold in his 1,500 specialty and in the 400 metres.

Damian Warner: The decathlete surprised the world by finishing fifth at the London Olympics as a newcomer to this gruelling 10-discipline event. He went on to win a bronze medal at the 2013 worlds and gold at the prestigious Hypo meet.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton: She also won gold at the 2013 Hypo meet in heptathlon and, more recently, picked up a silver medal at the world indoor championships.

Josh Cassidy: The wheelchair racer holds the record for the world’s fastest marathon, 1:18:25, set at the 2012 Boston Marathon. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games he won a bronze in the 1,500 metres and would love to upgrade this time.

Michelle Li and Alex Bruce: They became Canadian badminton sweethearts when they were vaulted into the semifinals of the London Olympics after four doubles teams were disqualified. Li will compete in singles and Bruce has teamed up with Phyllis Chan in women’s doubles and Toby Ng in mixed doubles.

Story by Kerry Gillespie for the Toronto Star | TheStar.com

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