AS many as seven Cumbrian athletes will be looking forward to performing at the highest level as the Commonwealth Games kicks off today.

Barrow's Tyler Baines, Askam's Emily Bolton, Carlisle's Helen Housby, Lauren Smith, and Nick Miller, Maryport's Simon Lawson, and Luke Greenbank, who was born in Crewe but whose formative years were spent in the pool at Cockermouth Leisure Centre, will be ready to go out and perform at the competition, which kicks off at 8.00pm tonight.

Tyler Baines, a current GB senior men's athlete, is one of just four athletes selected for the main roster in the new 3x3 wheelchair basketball format.

Baines has spent the last season playing professionally in Spain for Amivel and will be in action again for England on July 28.

Emily Bolton, from Askam, has replaced the injured Mollie Patterson in the England squad for the Commonwealth Games.

The 24-year-old joins Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos and Charlotte Bardsley in the women’s line-up for the event.

Lauren Smith, who was inspired by the incredible achievements she watched at the Manchester Games in 2002, is now 30 and preparing for her third Commonwealth Games. After Glasgow in 2014 and the Gold Coast in 2018 comes Birmingham, and the chance for Smith to compete in front of a home crowd.

Luke Greenbank is one of Britain’s top swimmers, a medallist at Olympic Games and World Championships, and a leading light in the pool for Team England at next week’s Commonwealth Games.

He is also a proud Cumbrian whose formative years were spent in the pool at Cockermouth Leisure Centre.

Born in Carlisle, Nick Miller was made in Oklahoma – competing for Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

The hammer thrower earned his first international selection in the 2014 European Team Championships, finishing fifth for Great Britain, and was rewarded with a shot at glory later that year in the Commonwealth Games, where he won silver in Glasgow. 

Four years later he was again selected for Team England, this time winning gold on the Gold Coast. 

Simon Lawson, who will go for glory at the Commonwealth Games this summer after being named in Team England's squad, is a wheelchair marathon racer from Maryport.

He claimed bronze in the previous Commonwealth Games in 2018.

While Helen Housby has said she is in no hurry to repeat the last-gasp heroics that earned England a famous win over Australia in the Commonwealth Games netball final four years ago.

Housby’s winner with the last move of the match sparked jubilant scenes on the Gold Coast and led to a seismic shift in the perception of the sport in the UK.