19/04/2024

Australian cricketer Ashleigh Gardner is just one of the many Aborigninal and Torres Strait Islander athletes who will be competing at this year's Commonwealth Games. (Image: @CricTelegraph - Twitter).

The list of Australians competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games has been finalised. Among the group, is a record of 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

It’s a little over a week until the 2022 Commonwealth Games kicks off, and the final list of Australians who will be flying the gold and green in Birmingham has been finalised.

Here are the 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who will be representing the nation during the 11 days.

Brandon Wakeling

Wakeling is a weightlifter from Campbelltown who first made his appearance at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 shortly after picking up the sport. Not long after, he took out the gold after representing the country the following year at the Pacific Games.

Now, the Wonnarua man will return for another stint at the games in Birmingham.

Brandon Wakeling (Image: @DeadlyChoices Twitter).

Wakeling first dabbled in rugby league and long jump, before making the switch to weightlifting. Since making the switch, he hasn’t looked back.

He recently made history in 2021, becoming the first Indigenous weightlifter to compete at an Olympic Games, 20 years since Anthony Martin’s debut in 2000.

In a recent Instagram post, Wakeling said that he is “very grateful” for the opportunity to represent Australia again at the Commonwealth Games.

Taliqua Clancy

The 30-year-old Wulli Wulli and Goreng Goreng woman became the first Indigenous Australian volleyballer to represent the nation at the Olympics in Rio.

The beach volleyballer made her Commonwealth Games debut in 2018 where she claimed the silver medal alongside Mariafe Artacho del Solar. The duo of Clancy and Artacho del Solar make up one of Australia’s most successful athletes, highlighted by a career-high ranking of 5th.

Clancy will be aiming for the gold medal in Birmingham this year, vowing to improve on her previous medal in 2018.

(Image: Commonwealth Games Australia Website)

Alex Winwood

Hailing from Mandurah in Perth, Alex Winwood is a boxer who will be representing the gold and green in Birmingham.

The only Indigenous boxer that forms part of the 2022 squad, Winwood is a Noongar man. His grandfather is the popular Indigenous artist Primus Ugle.

Winwood was last seen at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo. His Olympic debut saw him suffer a loss against Zambia’s Patrick Chinyemba.

Shortly after, Winwood went pro in the latter half of 2021 where he trained under Tony Tolj, who previously was linked up to Australian boxing twins Andrew Moloney and Jason Moloney.

(Image: Commonwealth Games Australia Website)

Indi Cooper

At the age of 16, Indi Cooper will be making her debut at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The Wiradjuri woman and para-athlete will look to follow in the footsteps of Australian five-time Paralympian Lisa McIntosh who made a record of 14.38 seconds in 2006.

Cooper caught attention following her performance at 2020’s NSW All-Schools Carnival. She beat the T38 800m age record by over three seconds.

She was recently one of four recipients of the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship this year following her rise in athletics.

(Image: Commonwealth Games Australia Website)

Ruby Storm

Ruby Storm is only the second Indigenous para-swimmer to represent the nation at the Commonwealth Games when she debuts at the upcoming games.

The 18-year-old is a part of the Wiradjuri tribe and made an instant impression back in 2019 when she took home a bronze medal at the World Para-Swimming Championships. In the following year, she claimed a silver and bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Despite originally having a fear of water in her younger years, she took up swimming at the age of seven. Fast forward to 2022, and Storm is one of the rising stars of swimming in the country.

(Image: Commonwealth Games Australia Website)

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Ashleigh Gardner

The Muruwari woman can be seen playing in the national women’s cricket team, and the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.

Now one of Australia’s best cricketers, Ashleigh Gardner will be set to make a blast at the Birmingham Games this year.

Born in Bankstown, Sydney, the 25-year-old will bring her talent to the squad that has been finalised.

Gardner was named the Belinda Clark Award winner in 2021-22 for being the nation’s best female international player. On the side, the cricketer has also picked up painting fuelled by a passion for Aboriginal art.

(Image: @WomensCricZone).

Maurice Longbottom

After his Commonwealth Games debut in 2018, Maurice Longbottom is back for a second time as he has become an integral part of Australia’s squad.

The Dharawal man initially aimed to follow in the footsteps of family members George and Bruce Longbottom when he played for the South Sydney junior squad. Though rugby league wasn’t on the cards for him as his height played a factor.

In 2015, Longbottom received an invitation to play in the Ella Sevens which led to him attracting the attention of former Australian Rugby Sevens coach Andy Friend.

Since that chance encounter, Longbottom has appeared at both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Olympics. He has over 130 matches and 70 tries to his name whilst playing for the gold and green.

Ally Wilson

The Ngarrindjeri woman will be making her mark in the 3×3 Basketball event at the Games this year.

Wilson is a two-time WNBL champion and has played at the Adelaide Lightning and the Sydney Uni Flames. She also received the WNBL Rookie of the Year award in 2014.

Along with her commitments in the WNBL, Wilson has also represented her country in her junior years, in particular at the FIBA U19 World Championships where the team at the time won the bronze medal. During that tournament, she averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game.

Mariah Williams

Mariah Williams will be making her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.

The Wiradjuri woman had a short stint in soccer and touch football, before deciding to focus on hockey in high school. Her first major international appearance occurred at the age of 17 in a Test series where Australia took on Korea.

Born in Parkes, the 27-year-old was honoured with a hockey pitch named after her in her hometown.

Donnell Wallam

The 28-year-old Noongar netballer will be a part of the Diamonds squad as a travelling reserve in Birmingham this year.

Following in the footsteps of Marcia Ella-Duncan and Sharon Finnan-White, Wallam’s selection marks the third time an Aboriginal athlete has been a part of the Diamonds squad.

Wallam’s selection to the side follows a stellar rise in netballer, as she has just come off the back of the recent Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season.

After earning a contract and coming into the Queensland Firebird as a replacement player, Wallam made 519 goals and 26 super shots during her SSN 2022 campaign.

(Image: @_BrittneyCarter – Twitter).

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