Richmond athletes poised to stand tall at Commonwealth Games

Richmond's Nathan Hirayama, at fly half, will be a key in Canada's chase for gold in rugby sevens at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
— image credit: Rugby Canada

Richmond athletes stand to make their mark at The Friendly Games which began today in Glasgow, Scotland with the opening ceremonies.

Competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games get underway Thursday, with badminton first up. The mixed teams group play stage will feature Derrick Ng, who while a Vancouver resident, trains at Richmond's ClearOne Badminton Centre. Ng is the 2014 Canadian mixed doubles champion and also the national men's doubles champion with fellow ClearOne member and Prince Rupert resident Adrian Liu. Toby Ng, also of Vancouver and a ClearOne Badminton Club member who won the mixed doubles title at the 2013 Pan-American Games is also competing.

Canada will face Falkland Islands in round one.

Field hockey is also up on day one, with Canada—featuring Richmond's own and Hugh McRoberts Secondary graduate Kaelan Watson—facing India its opening match. A defender, Watson was a member of Canada's 2014 indoor Pan-American Cup-winning team earlier this year.

Table tennis is also on tap on opening day, with Canada's women's team playing Jamaica and Malaysia and the men's team playing Tanzania and host Scotland. The Canadian women's team features Mo Zhang, 33rd in women's singles play at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and the men's team Andre Ho, who won the singles title at the 2013 North America Cup after also competing at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Swimming, too, also begins Thursday with Richmond athlete Luke Reilly in the 400-metre individual medley heats. He also plans to compete in the 200 metre event, scheduled to commence next Monday (July 28). Reilly, who is coached by fellow Richmondite and former Olympian Brian Johns along with Steve Price, set a Canadian junior record in finishing fourth at last year's world junior championships.

Canada's hopes in rugby sevens begin Saturday with an prelminary-round match versus New Zealand. Now 26, Richmond's Nathan Hirayama, who made his national team debut at age 18, will be one of the keys for Canada as its starting fly half.

Athletics competition kicks off Sunday, but Richmond's lone athlete will be limited to practice until the women's 200-metre heats commence July 30. That's when Shai-Anne Davis, a former Richmond Kajak, will begin what she hopes will be a successful medal run. Davis, who has been training the past few years in Toronto with Desai Williams and Anthony McCleary, is coming off a first-place finish in the four-by-100-metre relay at the world relays earlier this year and was third at the NTC/Pure Athletics Spring Invitational in 23.26 seconds.

The 20th Commonwealth Games continue through Aug. 3.



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