Belfast Telegraph

Who are Northern Ireland's medal hopefuls at the Commonweath Games?

Ali Gordon profiles sixteen of our brightest prospects for the games in Scotland.

1. Zoe Brown - pole vault

On her performances this season, 30-year-old Zoe is a real medal contender. Only one Commonwealth athlete, Australian Alana Boyd, has gone higher than her in 2014.

The Antrim athlete has broken her own Northern Irish record five times this year.

2. Sycerika McMahon - swimming

The Portaferry swimmer was the first Northern Irish swimmer to achieve the qualifying time for Glasgow. The 19-year-old 200m breaststroke specialist, who is on a university scholarship in Texas, is our best hope of a medal in swimming.

3. Paddy Barnes - boxing

Current Commonwealth champion, Barnes has said anything other than gold will be a disappointment. The 27-year-old double Olympic medallist claimed Northern Ireland's first boxing medal since 1994 and is hot favourite to retain his light-flyweight title.

4. David Calvert - shooting

Attending his 10th Commonwealth Games, Calvert is Northern Ireland's most successful competitor with four gold and four bronze medals in the singles and pairs events.

5. Martyn Irvine - cycling

The Newtownards man won the 2013 UCI World Championships in the Scratch discipline, becoming the first Irish cyclist to win a world track title for 116 years. He finished second in this year's event.

6. Madeline Perry - squash

Ranked eighth in the world, the 37-year-old made history this year by becoming the oldest player to make the top 10. She made her first appearance at the Games in 1998.

7. Jason Harvey - athletics

Beating his season's best two weeks ago, Harvey has put in some promising 400m hurdle performances this summer. The 23-year-old had an ankle injury, but has been given the go-ahead for the Games.

8. Michaela Walsh - boxing

This is the first Commonwealth Games to include female boxing. Walsh recently reached the quarter-finals at the European Elite Championships so a medal is not out of the question.

9. Rachel Bethel - swimming

She may be the youngest member of Northern Ireland's Commonwealth team at 14, but the pupil at Wallace HS in Lisburn is already British age group champion in the 100m and 200m events.

10. Aileen Reid - triathlon

After finishing ninth in the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg at the beginning of July, Reid's confidence is sky high. The Londonderry triathlete is set to compete in both the individual and team events.

11. Emma Ludlow - table tennis

A pupil of Grosvenor Grammar in Belfast, Ludlow booked her place to Glasgow after winning the Irish senior title in April, defeating fellow Ulster player Ashley Girvin in the final.

12. Hugh McCloskey - wrestling

Taking a year out of his university studies to train for the Games will hopefully pay off for the 22-year-old from Limavady. McCloskey is fighting fit after a training camp in America in June.

13. Lisa Kearney - judo

Kearney is hoping to emulate her medal successes at two World Cups in 2013. The west Belfast ace was Ireland's first female judo representative at the 2012 Olympics. She has shot up almost 20 places in the world rankings this year.

14. Bethany Firth - swimming

Paralympic star Firth, an 18-year-old from Seaforde, Co Down, is heading to Glasgow fresh from winning four gold medals at the British International Para-Swimming meeting.

15. Michael Conlan - boxing

Winning a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in 2012, Conlan has moved from the flyweight division to bantamweight since the London Games. He will be hoping to avoid a repeat of Delhi in 2010 where, aged just 17, he was defeated in the first round.

16. Wendy Houvenaghel - cycling

Three-time world Champion Houvenaghel has shown no sign of slowing down, despite turning 40 in November. An Olympic silver medallist in 2008 in the team pursuit, Houvenaghel won her fourth British National Time Trial title in 2012.

Belfast Telegraph


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