Commonwealth Games: Peaty, Hursey and Archibald among home nations athletes to watch

David Calvert will represent Northern Ireland at the age of 67, while Tom Daley is seeking a fifth Commonwealth medal
David Calvert will represent Northern Ireland at the age of 67, while Tom Daley is seeking a fifth Commonwealth medal
2018 Commonwealth Games
Venue: Gold Coast, Australia Dates: 4-15 April
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app; listen on Radio 5 live and follow text updates online.

There is a 67-year-old shooter at his 11th Commonwealth Games, a table tennis player still in primary school and a cyclist competing in a third different sport at the event.

Their unique stories are just some of those on offer as more than 1,000 athletes from Britain or the Crown dependencies compete across 20 sports for 275 medals on Australia's Gold Coast, from 5 April. A record 38 Para-events will also form part of the 21st staging of the Games.

England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey all take squads filled with dreams.

So who has trodden an unlikely path to Australia? Who is expected to come back with medals and how does an 11-year-old get to compete in a major championship?

Athletics

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (England)

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Johnson-Thompson wins World Indoor pentathlon gold

The 25-year-old Liverpudlian has run, jumped and thrown her way into some fine recent form, winning pentathlon gold at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March. None of her nearest competitors at the Birmingham event are competing in the heptathlon in Australia, meaning she has strong hopes of a second major title in 2018.

Heptathlon: 12 and 13 April

Lawn bowls

Alex Marshall (Scotland)

Marshall is seeking a fifth gold at the Commonwealth Games
Marshall is seeking a fifth gold at the Commonwealth Games

The 51-year-old, who has been playing bowls since the age of eight, is one of 17 Scottish bowlers making the trip and will seek his fifth Commonwealth Games gold. Marshall and partner Paul Foster - who won the 2017 World Indoor Championship - will seek to defend the men's pairs title they won in 2014.

Men's pairs medal match: 9 April

Boxing

Michaela Walsh (Northern Ireland)

Since landing in Australia, Walsh has shared this image along with the message "G'Day mate"
Since landing in Australia, Walsh has shared this image along with the message "G'Day mate"

Northern Ireland have sent 13 boxers to the Games. That is more athletes than they have in any other discipline and Michaela Walsh, who took silver in the flyweight category after defeat by England's Nicola Adams in 2014, will be a strong medal hope.

The 24-year-old has been embracing life in Australia if her Twitter account is a barometer but she seems to miss some things, tweeting: "Does anyone know how I can watch Coronation Street from Australia?"

Cycling

Dan Halksworth (Jersey)

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Jersey's Dan Halksworth is aiming to become the first person to compete in three different sports at the Commonwealth Games.

Dan Halksworth will become the first person to compete in three different sports at three separate Commonwealth Games. The 32-year-old cyclist goes in the time trial and road race having previously competed as a swimmer in 2006 in Melbourne and a triathlete in Glasgow in 2014.

"I decided to give cycling a go because I'd got a bit older, got a mortgage and don't have the time to do all three sports in the triathlon any more," he told BBC Sport.

Men's time trial: 10 April

Katie Archibald (Scotland)

Katie Archibald has come a long way since getting into cycling in 2011, winning her first races on a grass track. The 24-year-old has since become an Olympic and world champion. She took Commonwealth bronze in the women's points race in 2014 behind Wales' Elinor Barker, who claimed silver.

There is a chance they could renew that rivalry in the same event, with Archibald planning to compete in five events.

Women's 3,000m individual pursuit: 6 April; points race: 7 April; 10K scratch race: 8 April; road time trial: 10 April; road race: 14 April

Dani Rowe (Wales)

Dani Rowe has begun training with the Welsh Cycling team
Dani Rowe switched nations after marriage

Hampshire-born Rowe switched allegiance from England to Wales in December after marrying Welshman Matthew Rowe, brother of Team Sky rider Luke, in October.

As Dani King she claimed gold in the team pursuit at the London 2012 Olympics and it is possible she will double up on track and road for Wales on Australia's east coast.

Women's 400m team pursuit: 5 April; road race, 14 April

Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham (Scotland)

The tandem pair compete on the Gold Coast fresh from winning two golds in March's UCI Para-cycling Track World Championship in Brazil.

Fachie, who is visually impaired, will be bidding to retain the two titles he won with pilot Craig McLean four years ago in Glasgow. Taking over as pilot this time is Rotherham, a former junior European champion who is in the unusual position of being an Englishman representing Scotland in Australia.

Men's B&VI 1,000m TT final: 5 April; men's B&VI sprint final: 7 April

Diving

Tom Daley (England)

The 23-year-old world champion is seeking a third Commonwealth title in the 10m platform and also goes alongside partner Daniel Goodfellow in the synchronised 10m platform, where he has won gold and silver in the past.

Daley, who won his first individual World Championship title for eight years last summer, will become a father later in the year as he and husband Dustin Lance Black are expecting a son.

Men's synchronised 10m platform final: 13 April; men's 10m platform final: 14 April

Gymnastics

Max Whitlock (England)

A victory for Max Whitlock could spawn more eye-catching celebrations
A victory for Max Whitlock could inspire more eye-catching celebrations

Max Whitlock won the floor and pommel horse disciplines at the recent British Championships, so the double Olympic champion is in fine form.

Whitlock trains for about 36 hours a week and says he averages 11 hours of sleep a night in order to ready himself for the next session.

The sleep will be needed as there are rumours the 25-year-old could attempt the hardest pommel horse routine ever seen in competition on the Gold Coast, where he will also lead the England team as they seek to defend their team title.

Men's team final: 5 April; individual all-round final: 7 April; floor and pommel horse finals: 8 April

Para-powerlifting

Ali Jawad (England)

Ali Jawad
Jawad was born in Lebanon but grew up in north London

Jawad has had a real struggle to even reach the Gold Coast. The 29-year-old, who was born without legs, has Crohn's disease, which causes inflammation of the bowel, and he has had to deal with regular flare-ups, including one which kept him out of last year's World Championships in Mexico City.

He won bronze in Glasgow four years ago and followed that up with Paralympic silver in Rio. In Australia, he will compete in the lightweight category with the winner decided by a formula which uses an athlete's bodyweight and their best lift on the day.

Para-powerlifting lightweight final: 10 April

Swimming

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Peaty looks to get 'near' world records

Adam Peaty (England)

Peaty now has a lion tattooed on his left biceps as a symbol of the kind of ambition which has seen him undefeated in the 100m breaststroke at a major championships since 2014.

The 23-year-old Olympic champion is seeking a third Commonwealth gold medal and is also working on what he calls 'Project 56', where he aims to become the first man to break 57 seconds. He also competes over 50m, where he won silver at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

Men's 100m breaststroke final: 7 April; 50m breaststroke final: 9 April

Jazz Carlin (Wales)

Carlin shared this image of herself, stating it was the "best welcome" to Australia
Carlin shared this image of herself, calling it the "best welcome" to Australia

Jazz Carlin will also have high hopes in the outdoor pool at Optus Aquatic Centre where she competes in the 200m and 800m freestyle.

The 27-year-old - who swims about 50 miles a week in training - was the first Welsh woman to win Commonwealth gold in the pool for 40 years in Glasgow.

Women's 200m freestyle final: 5 April; 800m freestyle final: 9 April

Hannah Miley (Scotland)

Aberdeen's Hannah Miley is among the favourites as she chases a hat-trick of Commonwealth titles in the women's 400m individual medley.

The British record holder has practised in an outdoor pool to replicate conditions on the Gold Coast and has spent up to 12 hours a day in an altitude tent, allowing herself out only to train and eat breakfast.

Women's 400m individual medley final: 5 April

Shooting

David Calvert (Northern Ireland)

This is a record-extending 11th Commonwealth Games appearance for David Calvert.

The 67-year-old full-bore shooter made his debut in 1978 and earned his first medal four years later on the same Brisbane range being used for this event. He will compete in the Queen's Prize Pairs alongside Jack Alexander.

Queen's Prize Pairs final: 10 April

Table tennis

Anna Hursey (Wales)

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11-year-old Anna Hursey: from the school playground to the Commonwealths

Anna Hursey, aged 11, is believed to be the youngest athlete to ever represent Wales at senior level in any sport.

The Cardiff-based primary school pupil took up the sport aged five and now plays for about three hours a day after school. She has also spent long spells living and practising in China, committing to 30 hours of work on the table a week while in the Far East.

Women's singles final: 14 April

Triathlon

Alistair & Jonny Brownlee (England)

The Brownlee brothers - Alistair (right) and Jonny - are expected to contest gold in Australia
The Brownlee brothers - Alistair (right) and Jonny - are expected to contest gold in Australia

Brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee have been training in the Queensland resort of Noosa for more than a month to ready themselves for an event in which they are expected to rival one another for gold.

Alistair cautiously withdrew from the ITU Triathlon World Series opener in Abu Dhabi in early march to protect a calf injury but social media posts have shown him training since.

The two-time Olympic champion will start favourite, with Jonny - Commonwealth and Olympic silver medallist - expected to give chase.

Men's triathlon final: 5 April

Jade Jones-Hall (England)

Mentored by Paralympic legend Baroness Grey-Thompson and her husband Ian, wheelchair racer Jones-Hall won bronze in the T54 1500m in Glasgow but will be challenging on two fronts in Australia.

Since 2016, she has taken up Para-triathlon, last year winning European gold and world silver behind Australian Emily Tapp, and she will be part of the sport's debut on the Gold Coast, as well as competing in the T54 marathon on the final day of competition.

Husband Callum, who is also a wheelchair racer, is also part of the England team and will race in the men's T54 marathon.

Women's PTWC final: 7 April; women's T54 marathon: 15 April

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