Hannah Cockroft and Matthew Hudson-Smith will captain the women’s and men’s athletics teams, respectively, at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Team Leader Kelly Sotherton asked Team England’s athletes and staff to nominate their captains for Birmingham 2022, with Cockroft (coach: Jennifer Banks, club: Leeds City AC) and Hudson-Smith (coach: Gary Evans, club: Birchfield Harriers) topping the votes.
The announcement that the popular duo had been selected was made by Sotherton during the team athletes and staff meeting at their preparation camp at Loughborough University on Thursday evening.
Multiple Paralympic gold medallist, world champion and world record holder Cockroft, who will be competing in her first Commonwealth Games in the 100m - T34 classification, said:
“It’s a massive privilege to be nominated as the women’s team captain for Team England. Obviously, it’s a new team for me with lots of new teammates so to be recognised by them on my Commonwealth Games debut is a real honour. I hope that I can do them proud when I go out there and compete.
On being asked what her message was when she spoke to the team following the announcement, she added:
“I told them that as a home team, we have a massive advantage and just go out there and smash it. And most importantly, enjoy it because there is nothing like competing at a home Games.”
Hudson-Smith, who returned from last week’s World Athletics Championships as 400m bronze medallist to add to the European title he won in 2018, said about his selection as male team captain:
“It’s a real honour. I didn’t expect to be nominated as captain. I am excited to lead by example. It’s a great honour to have been chosen by the rest of the team of athletes and staff. When it’s other people putting you forward, it shows they believe in me, and I just want to represent Team England in the best possible way.”
Speaking about being part of Birmingham 2022 as someone born in the region, the British 400m record holder, added:
“It’s something I have been aiming at for a while and now that it’s here I am excited and just want to put on a show for everybody.”
Team England athletes team leader Kelly Sotherton said: “Both Hannah and Matthew will make brilliant captains and fully deserve being chosen by their fellow athletes and team staff to lead our women’s and men’s teams.
“Amongst the reasons given by their peers for selecting Hannah and Matthew were for their leadership, being great role models, supportive, inspirational, and passionate about athletics.”
“I am proud to be leading such an inspirational and inclusive team of athletes who will be going into the Games to make the country proud.”
Team England’s athletics competition gets underway on Saturday 30 July with the men’s and women's wheelchair marathon races at 07:00 and 07:03, followed by the men’s and women’s marathon races at 09:00 and 10:30 (all BST).