NEC boss to get second taste of Games action
NEC boss Phil Mead will relive former glories when badminton comes to town for the Commonwealth Games in 2022!
Mead, who heads the Group’s three Commonwealth Games venues, represented the Isle of Man at badminton in the 1982 Games in Brisbane, Australia.
He missed out on a medal, finishing sixth, but was just pleased to have been involved in the event, dubbed the “Friendly Games”.
“It was a fantastic experience that’s stayed with me all of my life,” Mead said.
“It really lived up to the Friendly Games and I’m absolutely sure we can replicate that if not do better here in 2022.
“I have a passion for the Commonwealth Games. But I always feel guilty when I’m alongside real athletes!
“Birmingham has a great reputation in badminton.
“For 25 years the city has hosted the Yonex All- England championship, the Wimbledon of badminton watched throughout the world.
“The fact we have badminton still within our venues and the experience on how to present it is all a bonus.”
Badminton is one of seven sports that will be staged at NEC Group venues throughout the Games. Five sports – boxing, judo, table tennis, weight lifting and wrestling – will be held at the NEC alone. It promises to be a logistical nightmare.
But Mead is confident his staff will “demonstrate our credentials” and “fly the flag for Birmingham”.
“Many of those sports we’ve hosted at world level already, so we have some experience on that front,” he said.
“We’re proud of our reputation, but this multi- sport dimension is new to us. We have a great reputa- tion for delivering major sports at these venues – just this year the World Indoor ( athletics) Championships, the Yonex All- England badminton and World Cup gymnastics. We finish off the year with BBC Sports Personality of the Year so we’ve got a lot of experience in major events. We’re really confident, but we can’t be complacent so planning has already started four years out.”
Commonwealth athletes with chairman of Birmingham 2022 John Crabtree ( third left) and MD for Venues at the NEC Phil Mead ( third right)