Canada is sending its largest ever team for a non-home Commonwealth Games to Glasgow, Scotland in hopes of returning to the top three in the medal standings.
Commonwealth Games Canada confirmed Thursday it will have 265 athletes competing — the most ever for a Commonwealth Games held outside the country.
The 20th edition of the Games begins with the opening ceremony at Celtic Park on July 23 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:30 p.m. ET) and closes on Aug. 3.
The Commonwealth Games are held every four years among countries from the old British Empire. At the most recent one — held in Delhi, India in 2010 — Canada finished fourth in the overall medal count, behind Australia, England and India.
In Scotland, Canada is aiming to return to its usual place in the top three.
Canadians will compete in 16 of the 17 sports, with netball the only exception.
The track and field team is particularly strong, with 2013 world championship medallists Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlon), Damian Warner (decathlon) and Derek Drouin (an Olympic bronze medallist in the high jump) on the squad. Boston Marathon wheelchair champion Josh Cassidy will compete in the para-sport 1,500 metres.
In the pool, two-time Olympic medallist swimmer Ryan Cochrane will defend his Commonwealth titles in the 400m and 1,500m events. Olympic and world diving medallists Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion look to continue their strong season in the 10-metre synchro competition, as do Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware in the 3m.
“Canada has fielded a very strong team for these 2014 Games, and we are targeting a top-three finish among all nations competing here," said Scott Stevenson, Commonwealth Games Canada's director of sport, in a release.
Nattrass to carry flag
Team Canada chef de mission Chantal Petitclerc said athletes are gathering in Scotland with the Games less than a week away.
“It is exciting that our Canadian athletes are starting to arrive at the Games’ [athletes] village,” Petitclerc said. “While we have had a small advance team on site for over a week, having athletes now living in the village has made it come alive.
"Glasgow 2014 is ready, as are the Commonwealth’s best athletes, who are starting to gather for these great Games.”
Some facts about the Canadian team:
- Youngest athlete: 16-year-old artistic gymnast Isabela Onyshko.
- Oldest athlete: 78-year-old para-sport lawn bowler Al Hanet.
- Most Commonwealth medals won: 8 (3 silver, 5 bronze), by trap shooter Susan Nattrass, who is Canada's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.
- Most Commonwealth appearances: 4, by Nattrass and shooting teammate Metodi Igorov.