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Birmingham’s World Games set to feature state talent

Birmingham is playing host to the world games in 2022. Among those competing to represent the United States will be several local faces.

At least five athletes connected with the Yellowhammer State will be involved in the World Games.

World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers said in a statement, “Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the athletes to compete on home soil, but spectators also have the unique chance to see a fellow Alabamian compete at home, too.”

Three of the five athletes are associated with the University of Alabama.

Softball player Haylie McCleny, a graduate of Mortimer Jordan High School, became the Crimson Tide’s career leader in batting average, on-base percentage, walks and triples. The outfielder has played on two Team USA world championship teams and competed on the silver-medalist team at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Montana Fouts, a native of Kentucky, has played softball her last four years in Tuscaloosa. She was awarded Freshman of the Year in 2019, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Pitcher of the Year in 2021 and has been named All-SEC three times. In 2022 at Alabama, she finished 24-8 with a 2.10 ERA and 275 strikeouts in 190 innings pitched.

Florida native Anna Gay just completed her degree at Alabama while competing as a waterski trick competitor. She is a nine-time gold medalist at the Water Ski World Championships. She is a two-time National Collegiate Water Ski Association trick champion. She is also familiar with the World Games as she competed in the event in 2017 in Poland.

The other two state representatives in the games both compete in martial arts. Andrew Roden, of Guntersville, is scheduled to compete in sumo.

Last is Raio Campos, a Brazil native who now serves as an Alabama National Guardsman. He lives in Columbiana, about 30 minutes south of Birmingham, and is scheduled to compete in ju-jitsu.

With events beginning July 8 and running through July 13, be sure to show up and support our local athletes carrying on a great tradition of world-renowned Alabama athletes.

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