Commonwealth Games legend Wilby targets success in swansong

·2-min read
James Wilby admits that this Commonwealth Games may be his last.
James Wilby admits that this Commonwealth Games may be his last.

York’s James Wilby admits this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham could be his last appearance at the showpiece event.

Wilby, 28, competed at the Glasgow and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018 and across both events has brought home two golds, two silvers and a bronze medal.

Wilby is fully aware that 2026 might be a step too far and this could be his swansong at a Games that counts as one of his favourite majors.

“I always enjoy the Commonwealth Games," said Wilby.

"It’s something that I have been a part of twice now and it’s really quite special. It’s a friendly Games, as it’s sometimes referred to, and it does make it pretty incredible.

“I think having that not too far away from where I am now and at home with a home crowd, it’s certainly a special thing to be a part of.

“If this is my last Commonwealth Games I will always be able to look back and say: ‘I’ve raced at one of these major international competitions at home in England.’ That’s something to be proud of - regardless of the results.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Wilby hopes sharing his story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

“We had an incredible Gold Coast and at home I think the ante will be upped. I’m certainly looking forward to racing and I’m certain all the other competitors for Team England are as well.”

Wilby is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

A breaststroker, Wilby has found himself competing in a golden era in that discipline - led by world record holding superstar Adam Peaty.

And he believes that strong domestic competition has pushed male breaststroke in this country to new heights over the past decade, with Team England expected to dominate the discipline.

“I think that competition is what makes us all great. I’ve talked about it in length in the past on the rise of British breaststroking and the key players that played a role in that,” said Wilby.

“We’ve got to the point now in 2022 where British breaststroking is extremely strong. I would argue as strong as it is as a domestic competition that pushed everything forward, when it comes to the international stage and we’re facing tough competition, what we deal with makes us race even faster.”

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