Venues lined up for 2022 Games City re­veals de­tailed plan to host range of sports in ready-made venues

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Govern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

WEIGHTLIFT­ING in the home of the CBSO could be one of the most strik­ing as­pects of Birm­ing­ham’s 2022 Com­mon­wealth Games bid.

More ac­cus­tomed to host­ing the world’s lead­ing or­ches­tras, the el­e­gant Sym­phony Hall will in­stead be home to the weight-lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion, while vis­i­tors to the NEC near to the air­port, will be able to watch box­ing, ta­ble tennis, judo and wrestling.

Mean­while, the Com­mon­wealth’s lead­ing gym­nasts will be no stranger to the Bar­clay­card Arena which has hosted World and Euro­pean cham­pi­onships. And the Gent­ing Arena has been lined up for bad­minton.

Birm­ing­ham is go­ing head-to­head with Liver­pool for the UK en­try for the 2022 Games in an un­ex­pect­edly short bid­ding process. And with the Govern­ment keen to keep costs low and the need to get the city ready within a tight timescale, Birm­ing­ham this week re­vealed that 95 per cent of its world-class venues are al­ready in place.

NEC Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Phil Mead said: “The NEC Group is one of the world’s lead­ing venue op­er­a­tors and has been cre­at­ing un­for­get­table live ex­pe­ri­ences for over 40 years.

“Over that pe­riod, we have proven our abil­ity to de­liver by host­ing over 60 in­ter­na­tional sports events such as World and Euro­pean In­door Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships, Davis Cup tennis, Yonex All Eng­land Bad­min- ton Cham­pi­onships, Euro­pean and World Gym­nas­tics Cham­pi­onships, In­ter­na­tional Net­ball and World BMX Cham­pi­onships, but in all that time Birm­ing­ham has not had the chance to host a ma­jor multi-sport event. We be­lieve the time is right now. We have a wealth of fan­tas­tic venues ready and able to de­liver world-class events for 2022 in­clud­ing the NEC, Gent­ing Arena and Bar- clay­card Arena and we are cur­rently gear­ing up to host the IAAF World In­door Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in 2018 which fur­ther demon­strates our cred­i­bil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity.

“We have also in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly into our venues in re­cent years to set us apart from our com­peti­tors. We saw at the Lon­don 2012 Olympics how a ma­jor in­door venue could suc­cess­fully host mul­ti­ple sports events and how the public and ath­letes thrived on the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence so many sports in close prox­im­ity with a com­pact Games propo­si­tion.”

The ath­let­ics will take place in an up­graded Alexan­der Sta­dium and other venues are likely to in­clude the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham’s hockey pitches, Edg­bas­ton Cricket Sta­dium, the Perry Park BMX track and Villa Park. Only a com­pe­ti­tion stan­dard pool needs to be built from scratch.

Chair­man of the Birm­ing­ham bid com­mit­tee Cllr Ian Ward said that 95 per cent of venues are ready. He said: “With a her­itage of de­liv­er­ing world­class in­ter­na­tional events these four venues will pro­vide over 50 days of com­pe­ti­tion for fans to en­joy dur­ing the Birm­ing­ham 2022 Games.”

> How weigh­lift­ing at the Sym­phony Hall could look at the 2022 Games

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