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The Commonwealth Star Who Had To Pretend To Be A Boy

5 Inspirational Athletes At The Commonwealth Games

Tuesday 22nd July 2014

The Commonwealth Games get underway tomorrow as the top athletes from 53 countries compete in the 'Friendly Games'.

Maria Wazir

We've picked out the five most inspirational athletes performing in Glasgow 2014, from a former junk food addict who transformed his diet to the Pakistani girl who had to pretend to be a boy to compete.

Maria Toorpakai Wazir
Sport: Squash
Country: Pakistan
Hailing from an area of Pakistan where girls are not allowed to play sport, Maria Toorpakai Wazir had to pretend she was a boy when she started competing, cutting her hair and burning her clothes. Her family were under so much pressure when her gender was revealed that she practised in her room for four years, before moving to Canada and joining a squash academy.

Steve Way
Sport: Athletics
Country: England
Steve Way is not your average marathon runner. Just seven years ago, he weighed 16 stone and smoked 20 cigarettes a day. He decided to make a change to his lifestyle and has run 26,000 miles since then, making his way to the England squad.

Jonny Bellis
Sport: Cycling
Country: Isle of Man
From the cycling hotspot that spawned Mark Cavendish, Bellis was knocked off his scooter five years ago and spent a month in a coma, suffering a stroke. Doctors feared he would never walk again, but he made a miraculous recovery and will be in the track team in Glasgow.

Adrien Niyonshuti
Sport: Cycling
Country: Rwanda
Adrien lost six brothers and 60 family members during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and is determined to change people's perceptions of his home country. Having been the first Rwandan cyclist in the Olympics, he now wants to spread his message to the Commonwealth.

Meggan Dawson-Farrell
Sport: Para-sport Cycling
Country: Scotland
Meggan was told she couldn't join in with sport at school, because she had sina bifida. And less than 18 months ago, she was discharged from hospital after four major brain operations. But her recovery has been remarkable and she is a big home medal hope for Scotland at the Games.