Apr 29, 2021 Sports
By Calvin Chapman
Following this week’s announcement of cricket returning to the 2022 Commonwealth Games with women competing for the first time ever, Guyanese cricketer Akaze Thompson is relishing the opportunity to be part of that historic experience.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) made the announcement on Monday with six qualified teams in Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and a country from the West Indies set to join hosts England in the eight-team Twenty20 competition.
The West Indies’ representative team will come from the winner of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) regional T20 tournament which is needed to be complete by January 31, 2022.
Thompson, who’s an allrounder, shared with Kaieteur Sport that, “I’m very much excited to hear that women’s cricket will now be a part of Commonwealth Games. It’s a huge step in the right direction for women’s sport to get more recognition and fanfare and I would love if I can help Guyana win the qualifying tournament because it’s always a great feeling to be representing my country. Flying the Golden Arrowhead at such a major event like the Commonwealth Games would be even more special for me.”
The West Indies is full of tremendous talent in the women’s game and their win in the women’s T20 World Cup in India, 2016, is testament to the potential. With that being said, regional rivalry is stiff and Thompson is well aware that winning the regional qualifying tournament will not be an easy task but she is optimistic that her teammates have the goods to pull off the victory.
She noted that, “I think we are capable of qualifying, we (Guyana) have one of the best teams in the region, with good preparation I think we can qualify. I believe our closest rivals will be Barbados and Jamaica but I am not too worried about them because once we prepare well and train, we can beat anyone.”
Being inactive for over a year is something that has plagued athletes all over the world because of the pandemic, when quizzed about how challenging it will be to get back into action at full throttle, Thompson noted that it will be difficult but she has set out clear goals and intend to achieve them.
She elaborated that, “Being away from the game so long has really been difficult, putting on weight during the pandemic was my main issue but currently I’m working on it so as time goes by everything should be falling back into the right places for me.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete across 11 days. Birmingham 2022 will be the first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men.
The Commonwealth Games cricket tournament will take place at the Edgbaston Stadium.
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