As a number of the Birmingham 2022 events are being held within the Solihull borough, it seemed timely to have a look at people with a connection to Solihull who have competed in the Commonwealth Games since it started in 1930 as the British Empire Games.
Those we know of are:
- Daniel Caines – Born in Solihull and attended Solihull School. He ran the last leg of the men’s 4x400m relay team to win a Gold medal for the England team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He also won an individual Bronze medal in the men’s 400m.
- Pat Cropper MBE– a Solihull resident for more than 40 years, she competed in the 800m at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1966, 1970 and 1974, winning a Silver medal in 1970. She was Manager of Norman Green Athletics Centre and was also Chair of Solihull Sports Council.
- Tommy Godwin (1920-2012) – a track cyclist who won a Bronze medal at the 1950 British Empire Games. President of Solihull Cycling Club, he lived in Knowle from 2003 until his death which occurred just two days before his 92nd birthday. Four months before his death he had participated in the Olympic Torch relay for London 2012, carrying the flame for 300m in Solihull. Five linked sections of the cycle network in the north of the borough were named Godwin Way in his memory.
- Lorraine Hanson – a Birmingham-based athlete who worked as a clerk at Kingshurst Area Housing Office in the early 1990s and trained with Sparkhill Harriers at Stratford Road, Shirley before moving to Birchfield Harriers in 1989. She came sixth in the 400m hurdles at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
- Amy Jones – a Solihull-born wicket-keeper who grew up in Sutton Coldfield and plays cricket for Warwickshire. She participated in the T20 women’s cricket competition as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- Sharon Lee – Borough resident who joined a Judo club at Norman Green Sports Centre (Tudor Grange) after encouragement from judo coach, Peter Barnett, who was her keep-fit instructor at Kingshurst Youth & Community Centre. She won a Bronze medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and two Gold medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, winning the Women’s Open and Heavyweight competitions.
- Nadine Okyere – now a sports lecturer at Solihull College, she won a Silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, running the last leg of the women’s 4x400m for Team England.
- Rhian Prichard – Carmarthen-born Borough resident and rower who represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games in 1986 and 1994.
- Mike Rawson (1934-2000) – a middle-distance runner who was a former resident of Solihull and old Silhillian. He won a Bronze medal in the 880 yards at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
- Keith Reynolds – a professional cyclist born in Solihull who is now logistics manager of British Cycling. He won a Gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, competing in the Men’s Team Time Trial.
- Katie Stainton – a heptathlete born in Solihull and a former pupil of Arden School. She competed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and has been selected as one of 400 athletes competing for Team England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- Eboni Usoro-Brown – a netball player born in Solihull and who has competed at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018, winning a Gold medal in 2018. She was also part of Team England at Birmingham 2022, after which she retired from elite competition.
- Sally Walton – a hockey player who grew up in Solihull, attending Greswolde and Lode Heath Schools. She first picked up a hockey stick at Hampton-in-Arden Hockey Club at the age of seven and went on to play for Olton & West Warwickshire. She won a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
- Issy Wong – a fast bowler who grew up in Solihull and first played cricket at an after-school club at Bentley Heath Primary School. She joined Knowle & Dorridge Cricket Club and obtained her first England cap in June 2020. She competed in the women’s T20 cricket as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- Lucilla Wright – a hockey player who born in Solihull, she was capped more than 200 times for her country and won Silver medals with Team England’s women’s hockey team at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and 2002, and a Bronze medal in 2006.
- Galal Yafai MBE – a Birmingham-born boxer who attended Light Hall School and Solihull College. He competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics and won Gold in the flyweight boxing at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He turned professional in January 2022, meaning he is not eligible to compete at Birmingham 2022. He is pictured at the top of this page in 2018, helping to launch the NEC as one of the venues for the 2022 Commonwealth Games (image courtesy of Birmingham City Council (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Have we missed out anyone? Please let us know!
For more information about Solihull’s links with the Commonwealth Games, visit the Heritage Gallery at The Core Library, Solihull between 2nd July and 13th August 2022.
Library Specialist: Heritage & Local Studies
The Core Library, Solihull