Who were the biggest winners and losers from Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games?2 min read
Delicious Orie, boxing
Is Orie destined for stardom? It certainly seems that way. Few British sportspeople have a backstory to rival the man who was born and raised in Russia, left in part because his family were victims of racial discrimination, arrived in the Midlands unable to speak the language and only tried boxing aged 18.
But he also has the talent to match, showing technical ability and mental nous to recover from losing the opening round of his super-heavyweight final to claim gold. Orie, 25, boldly says he wants to emulate, and surpass, Anthony Joshua. Much will depend on how he fares at the Paris Olympics.
Adam Peaty, swimming
For someone to win a Commonwealth gold medal and still go home bitterly disappointed says a lot about the level that Peaty operates and the expectation he places on himself.
The triple Olympic champion said he reached “the lowest of the low” after failing to make the 100m breaststroke podium – his first defeat over the distance for eight years – although he returned to win 50m breaststroke gold.
Competing despite not having sufficient time to recover from a broken foot, he sent an ominous warning to his rivals after that victory, declaring: “I’ve got that renewed hunger now. I’ve got something to prove, and that’s when I’m dangerous.”
England cricket and netball teams
That both England’s cricket and netball teams left Birmingham without medals was disastrous.
A devastated Katherine Brunt said she felt like the cricket team had let the whole country down after defeat in their bronze-medal match, suggesting she might now retire. Ranked second in the world, the bare minimum expected of the side was to make the final, so to not even make the podium was a huge shock.
So, too, in netball, where England’s title defence ended surprisingly meekly in a comprehensive semi-final defeat against Australia, before they also succumbed to New Zealand in the bronze-medal match. Both teams underperformed when it mattered most.