The Commonwealth Games 2022 get under way in Birmingham at the end of July, with athletes from 72 nations and territories set to compete.
We have pulled together a guide of what to expect as competitors from all around the world head to the Midlands.
What sports are played at the Commonwealth Games?
There are a record 283 events taking place in Birmingham in 2022, spread across 24 sporting disciplines.
Almost a quarter of medals will be won in the pool, with 54 swimming and 12 diving events adding up to 66 in total.
Track and field events account for 64 more (59 in athletics and five in triathlon), while cycling has 26 split across trail, road and track. Gymnastics is next (20), ahead of boxing (16), weightlifting (16) and judo (14).
A women’s cricket tournament will be included for the first time, while archery and shooting events are not taking place at the Commonwealth Games 2022.
The medals will be handed out over 11 days between Friday July 29 and Monday August 8.
The packed schedule sees at least 30 events reach their climax on four separate days, with 46 gold medals set to be decided on the penultimate day (Sunday August 7).
Swimming and track cycling will dominate the early part of the Games, with track and field taking centre stage in the second week.
Which nations will top the Commonwealth Games 2022 medal table?
We can track the most successful nations at the Commonwealth Games by looking at the percentage of medals that each country wins. This is more accurate than just counting their medal totals as the number of events tends to increase over time.
Australia has been the dominant nation across the last 10 Games, topping the medal table on every occasion apart from Edinburgh 1986 and Glasgow 2014, when England led the rankings.
Since 1982, Australia has won 29% of gold medals, well ahead of England on 19%. Australian athletes have won gold more often than not – their share of all medals including silver and bronze is smaller (but still the highest), at 24%.
Of the other British nations, Scotland and Wales rank sixth and 10th respectively for share of gold medals at the last 10 Games, while Northern Ireland sits in 15th.
Is there a home advantage?
With the Commonwealth Games 2022 being held in Birmingham, England will hope to topple Australia at the summit of the medal table.
In nine out of the last 10 Games, the host nation has had relatively more success at home compared with elsewhere. India enjoyed the largest uplift, winning 14% of gold medals in Delhi in 2010, compared with 6% at other Games since 1982.
The only country that has failed to outperform at home is England, winning 19% of gold medals in Manchester in 2002 which is almost identical to their average at other Games. Can the team rectify this in Birmingham?
Which sports are dominated by a single nation?
With competitors restricted to those from Commonwealth countries and territories, several sports are likely to see medals monopolised by one or two nations.
For example, para powerlifting – first contested in 2002 – has seen all eight of its gold medals won by Nigerian athletes.
New Zealand comes closest to matching Nigeria’s perfect record, having won six out of seven gold medals in rugby sevens.
Australia is the dominant force in hockey, winning 10 out of 12 gold medals, while England has triumphed on the judo mat in 28 out of 44 events.
In the absence of China (not a member of the Commonwealth), Singapore is the team to beat in table tennis, having collected more than half of available gold medals (22 out of 40).
Australia’s status as the most successful nation at the Commonwealth Games is built on dominance in athletics and swimming, the sports that hand out the highest number of medals.
Aussie athletes have won more than half of gold medals in the swimming pool since 1930 (305 out of 591), and almost a quarter of those awarded in track and field (196 out of 815).
Where do the top nations win most of their medals?
After Australia, the most successful countries in the history of the Commonwealth Games are England, Canada, India and New Zealand. Where do their specialties lie?
We have looked at every gold medal won by these five nations across the last five Games, going back to 2002.
While Australia, England and Canada have seen much of their success in sports with the most events (swimming, athletics, cycling, gymnastics), India and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand have specialised elsewhere.
More than three-quarters of Indian gold medals at the previous five Games have come in shooting, weightlifting and wrestling. With shooting events not taking place, India could finish further down the medal table than usual in Birmingham.
New Zealand, meanwhile, are likely to rely on rugby sevens for a share of their gold medal tally, such is their dominance in the event.
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