This week Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games announced its partnership with University of Birmingham that will see proposed Games venues on campus and the provision of other levels of support.
University of Birmingham is reportedly one of the UK’s leading sporting universities with a reputation for providing a world-class training environment on its Edgbaston campus. The University’s new Squash Courts and Hockey Pitches would become competition venues for those sports at the Games, if Birmingham is elected to host.
The University’s recently opened a new £55 million Sport & Fitness Club includes six glass back squash courts with 200 spectator seats, a 2000 square metre indoor arena and a second sports hall. According to the bid committee, the two halls will be a spectacular setting for the main all-glass squash show court and a secondary show court.
The University’s two existing water-based synthetic pitches are currently undergoing a £4 million refurbishment which will bring them up to International Hockey Federation (FIH) standard and Birmingham 2022 has the opportunity to shape their development to ensure they are Commonwealth Games compliant. Temporary seating for 5,000 spectators will also be installed for the Games with the University’s iconic red-brick buildings providing a stunning backdrop.
Olympic Champion from Rio 2016, Hockey, and University of Birmingham student, Lily Owsley MBE, trains at the University.
University of Birmingham has a number of other sports facilities which could be used for teams training ahead of the Games, including a 50 metre training pool, a new 8-lane 400 metre track, outdoor pitches, and the recently opened Chrissie’s Gym.
The gym is named after University of Birmingham alumna, British triathlete and four-time Ironman World Champion, Chrissie Wellington who said “I am so supportive of Birmingham’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games. It would be absolutely fantastic for the University, for the whole City and indeed the whole country, if it was to be hosted here.”
“Having this state of the art facility will only help us to win the bid and I put my name wholeheartedly behind that and will do whatever I can to support the City and its bid to host the Games.”
With nearly 40 per cent of the population under 25 years of age, and the highest proportion of under 20-year-olds of any major city in the UK, Birmingham is a young city. The city has the third largest university student population in the UK, after London and Manchester, with 78,000 students.
Ian Ward, the Deputy Leader Birmingham City Council and Chair, Birmingham Commonwealth Games Steering Group said “Birmingham has a strong reputation for education, attracting students from all over the world to its five universities.”
“By engaging one of the largest student populations across the country, who are energetic and enthused, we can deliver a Games that reflects Birmingham as a young and diverse city at the heart of the UK and soul of the Commonwealth.”
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is seeking a new host for the 2022 edition of the Games after Durban was stripped of the opportunity when it missed financial deadlines. While the South African city won the Games unopposed, several cities have stepped forward as possible replacements including Liverpool on the UK, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Victoria has also launched a bid while another Canadian city, Toronto, has cancelled its initial plans to move forward.
The CGF is due to select the 2022 replacement host city later this year.