Though some athletes have pulled out of the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games because of health and safety concerns, the 12-day event will still feature many top talents.
The Canadian contingent has been arriving in New Delhi, India over the past few days and will be ready when the Games begin on Oct. 3.
Toronto and its surrounding areas will be well represented, as 34 athletes from the city will be competing in Delhi.
Some local athletes to look out for include field hockey player Ken Pereira, squash player Shahier Razik, and swimmer Annamay Pierse.
Pereira will be leading his country into the Games as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony. He has plenty of international experience and will captain the men’s field hockey team.
Razik is Canada’s top-ranked squash player and could be the country’s best hope at a medal.
Meanwhile, Pierse will lead the red-and-white’s aquatics team into the pool as the current world-record holder in the 200-metre breaststroke.
Here is the complete list of GTA athletes who will be competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games:
Event: Men’s Recurve bow
Duenas represented Canada in both the men’s and team archery at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. One of his major career achievements is the silver medal, obtained along with his team at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Event: Men’s Compound bow
Fagan is the lone original member of the Commonwealth Games men’s compound bow team, after Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus withdrew from competition due to safety concerns. His best world ranking was 95th that came on Aug. 16, 2010. He currently sits 99th. The former Junior A hockey player finished 13th at the 2008 Pan American Championships, and more recently placed ninth in stage three of the Archery World Cup 2010.
Event: Women’s Recurve bow
MacDougall competed at the Ontario Spring Classic archery competition among 94 other archers from Canada. She is currently ranked 136th in the world.
Event: Women’s Recurve bow
Vrakking represented Canada at the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan Am Games, where she won a silver medal in the women’s team recurve bow competition and placed 17th in the individual event.
Event: Long jump and Triple jump
Charles’s personal best is 6.82 metres in long jump and 14.02 m in triple jump. She is currently the national champion in both of those events, and also was the Canadian title-holder for the two disciplines in 2006 and 2007. The former University of Miami student finished 10th in long jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and will be competing in her first Commonwealth Games.
Event: High Jump
Forrester’s trip to New Delhi will be her second Commonwealth Games, after winning a bronze medal at 2002 edition. She has plenty of experience at the international level, having also attended the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and three Pan Am Games, winning silver in 2007 and a bronze in 1999. Canada’s seven-time national champion in the long jump is also currently a PhD candidate in sports psychology at Michigan State University.
Event: F34 Shot Put
Pettey is currently ranked No. 1 in the world – classified for those with moderate to severe control issues in lower limbs. He has attended three Paralympics – winning a bronze medal in 2008, finishing 10th in 2004, and securing a silver in 2000. His personal best of 11.24 metres is also the world record. He obtained that mark on June 12, 2010 at an invitational meet in Sherbrooke, Que.
Event: Pole Vault
Wurster’s personal best is 5.50 metres in the pole vault. The current Canadian champion attended the University of Toronto where he was one of its top varsity athletes. In 2007-2008 he was named to the CIS first team all-Canadian. Besides winning the national title this summer, he also won gold at the 2010 Ontario Summer Games.
Event: Women’s Doubles
While Bruce will be attending her first Commonwealth Games this summer, she did participate in the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, where she won a silver medal in doubles with her partner Michelle Li. Bruce and Li are currently the 80th ranked doubles team in the world.
Event: Women’s Singles
Ko is a former Ryerson student who won two Ontario University Athletics awards in badminton, Rookie of the Year in 2004-2005 and MVP in 2007-2008. She won her first high-level tournament in 2009 (the Miami Pan Am International) and was a member of the gold medal-winning teams at the 2008 and 2009 Pan Am Championships. She is currently ranked 79th in the world in singles.
Event: Women’s Singles and Doubles
Li is the current national under-23 singles champion and doubles finalist. On the Badminton Canada website, she lists reaching the top-50 in the world by the end of 2010 as one of her goals. At 66th in singles, she sits just 16 spots away from her goal. She plays doubles with Alexandra Bruce, and together they won a silver medal at 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Event: 81 kg (Light Heavyweight)
Fish moved to Mississauga at the age of 11 to focus on boxing and is now coached by 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Chris Johnson. This year at the nationals in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., Fish won the 81-kilogram division and he was named best boxer of the tournament.
Event: Men’s Road Race
Barry is an experienced cyclist who is currently racing with Team Sky. He raced in the Tour de France for the first time this summer, and finished 99th out of 170 racers. He was one of just two Canadians in the field. Other accomplishments include finishing ninth in the road race at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He suffered two broken ribs earlier in September but was able to race in the Queen’s Park Grand Prix in Toronto on Sept. 19.
Event: Women’s Team
Liu is the goalkeeper of the Canadian field hockey team. Liu was selected to the junior women’s national team after the 1999 national camp and series against the United States junior team. Liu first played with the senior national team in the 2002 European Tour in Scotland and Wales.
Event: Men’s Team
Pereira plays forward and midfield, and has been involved with the national team program since 2007. He suited up for Canada at this year’s World Cup, and also plays on the University of Victoria Vikes field hockey team. This will be his first Commonwealth Games.
Event: Men’s Team
Pereira is a remarkable field hockey player and was chosen to carry the Canadian flag at the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games. Pereira has earned over 300 international caps for Canada, and plays professionally in the Netherlands. He is a four-time Pan American Games medalist, winning two gold and two silvers. He represented Canada in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Event: Artistic Gymnastics
Dowers has competed in several events around the country and also in Australia. He obtained first place in four different disciplines at the Canadian Championship in 2009 in Hamilton, Ont. Those events include the individual all around, floor, pommel horse and rings.
McKerihen has been lawn bowling for 45 years – he first played at the Toronto Boulevard Club in 1965 – and has been a member of the national team since 2004. He was a silver medalist in triples at the 2007 Asia Pacific Championships, and previously participated in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Wallbank is a four-time national champion and the current Canadian titleholder in fours alongside his teammates Steve McKerihen, David Anderson, and John Devonshire.
Event: Rugby Sevens
Backrow Moonlight received his first call-up to Sevens in March last year to attend the IRB Sevens Series in Hong Kong. Moonlight also played for the Wilfred Laurier University and was honoured as the rookie of the year in the 2005-06 season.
Event: Fullbore rifle
Vamplew has been around the world representing Canada in many shooting events.
Event: Men’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles
Clarke finished seventh at the 2010 Canadian national championships and is currently ranked 79th in the world. He has had some success this year on the pro tour, winning the Costa Rica Open on Sept. 11. The Ottawa-born Clarke also helped Canada win a team silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Event: Women’s singles, mixed doubles
Edmison is a former University of Western student, where she became a three-time CIS champion in squash. She is currently the 73rd best player in the world, her highest ever ranking. The Commonwealth Games will be her third time representing Canada at the international level – the other two being the 2006 Pan Am Championships and the 2008 World University Games.
Event: Women’s singles, doubles
Ranieri is heading to her first Commonwealth Games as the reigning national champion. Currently she is ranked 49th in the world, putting her as the second highest Canadian behind Winnipeg’s Alana Miller. Though this will be her first Commonwealth Games, she reached the semi-finals of the 2008 Pan American Championships.
Event: Men’s singles
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Razik is the veteran member of Canada’s squash team. He will be competing in his third Commonwealth Games, and has also been to three Pan American Games. He won the gold medal at the 2003 Pan Am’s and has been the national champion four times, including the past two years. He is Canada’s top squash player, at 27th.
Event: 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke
Dickens has international experience, representing Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He also participated in the 2010 Pan Pacific Trials,where he won the gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke and earned a berth on the Canadian team for the Pan Pacific Games in Irvine, California. Once there, he won bronze in the 50-metre breaststroke, a good result prior to his participation in the Commonwealth Games.
Event: 800m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 400m individual medley
A three-time national champion, Komarnycky won her first Canadian title when she was only 15-years-old. She was on the Canadian team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Her personal best came in 2008 at the Olympic swimming trials when she stopped the clock at 4:42.80 in the 400-metre individual medley.
Event: 50m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke
McCabe was named female swimmer of the meet at the Canada West Championships in Lethbridge, Alta., where she won five medals. She also represented Canada at the last Pan Pacific Games and finished sixth in the final round in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke.
Event: 50m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley
Hometown: Pointe-Claire, Que. (trains in Toronto)
Oriwol is seven-time national champion who trains at the University of Toronto with John Rodgers. He placed sixth in the 400 metre and ninth in the 200 metre individual medley events at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. He made the trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and after the Games retired from the sport to finish his degree in urban design. In January 2010 he announced his return to swimming.
Event: 50m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke
Toronto native and world record holder in the 200-metre breaststroke, Pierse will lead Canada’s aquatic team. Despite missing months of training with an injury, Pierse won bronze in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke competition at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. She also participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished sixth in that same event.
Event: 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke, 200m backstroke
Russell is the youngest swimmer in the Canadian team and hopes to build valuable experience at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She included 19 hours in the pool every week and weight training in her preparation for the Games.
Event: Women’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles, team
Luo’s appearance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games will mark her biggest tournament yet. However, she has already proven at a young age that she is talented table tennis player. At just 14, she is already Canada’s best junior player, and she just won a bronze medal at the Pan Am Cadet Championships in Ecuador.
Event: Freestyle 72 kg
Akuffo has several appearances in the women’s freestyle 72 kg events around the world. She won two silvers while competing in the Pan Am Games, one in Santo Domingo in 2003 and one in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. A year later, Akuffo won a bronze medal at the FILA Wrestling World Championships.
Event: Freestyle 96 kg
Pliev is the only member of the Canadian senior national men’s team in the GTA area. He was the Canadian national champion in 2008 and 2009 and won the Canada Cup international tournament in 2007 and 2008.