A record number of First Nations athletes are set to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham following the finalisation of the team.
Ten Indigenous stars will head to Alexander Stadium for the opening ceremony on July 28 before displaying their talents across a range of disciplines from the track to the pool, ring, sand, pitches and courts.
In 1962 eventual gold medallist high jumper Percy Hobson and boxing trio Eddie Barney, Adrian Blair and Jeff Dynevor became the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes to compete at the games when Perth played host city, paving the way for a decorated history of athletes to follow.
In 1990, while still a teenager, Cathy Freeman became the first Indigenous woman to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, setting herself on a path to three Olympic Games.
Beach volleyballer and Wulli Wulli-Goreng Goreng woman Taliqua Clancy will be eyeing off the top of the podium in Birmingham.
Coming off a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, the 30-year-old took gold at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event in Portugal on Monday, alongside teammate Mariafe Artacho del Solar.
Indiana Coopers, 15, leaves Gundagai in country New South Wales for her debut games in England to compete in Para athletics.
The Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipient travels with years of junior success under her belt.
Cousin of dual-sport star Olympic gold medallist and former Federal Senator Nova Peris, Brooke Peris, was unlucky to miss out, losing her spot on the plane after being ruled out of the women’s field hockey with injury.
The 2014 Northern Territory Sportsperson of the Year, Peris has Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals from competing in Glasgow and the Gold Coast respectively.
Wiradjuri woman Mariah Williams will take the field for the Hockeyroos.
Birmingham hosts the 2022 Commonwealth Games from July 18 to August 8 with 71 nations competing.
Full list of First Nations athletes competing
Taliqua Clancy – Beach Volleyball
Indi Cooper – Athletics
Ashleigh Gardner – Cricket
Maurice Longbottom – Rubgy 7’s
Callum Peters – Boxing
Ruby Storm – Swimming
Brandon Wakeling – Weightlifting
Mariah Williams – Hockey
Ally Wilson – Basketball (3×3)
Alex Winwood – Boxing
Originally published in the National Indigenous Time