(Sponsored by 4 Him Media) The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are less than 200 days away and with preparations nearing completion those close to the event are adamant it will be a “spectacular success” this summer.
In addition to the new venues and impressive post-Games legacy plans for the region one of the other major highlights of Birmingham 2022 will be inclusion of more medal events for women than men.
It will be the first time in history this has happened at a global multi-sport tournament.
Among the 136 medal events for women will be T20 cricket - included for the first time at a Commonwealth Games - whilst there will also be 13 mixed events where women and men compete together.
With just over six months to go until the event begins on 28th July new Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Chief Executive Katie Sadleir gives us her take on Birmingham 2022.
First impressions after site-visits and venue inspections in December 2021:
“In a little over six months, 4,500 of the world’s top athletes from 20 sports will be heading to the West Midlands to compete in one of the biggest sporting competitions on the planet,” states Sadleir. “There is no doubt in my mind that Birmingham 2022 will be a spectacular success.”
“Just weeks after taking up the position, I was fortunate to undertake my first trip to the city in December. Our first stop at Alexander Stadium allowed us to see the spectacular redevelopment of the prestigious venue that will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics competition.
“What we toured was a world-class sporting venue that will provide the perfect stage for our inspirational Commonwealth athletes. Post Games, it will host some of the biggest athletics competitions on the planet whilst simultaneously being an accessible facility to the local community.
“Another stop was to the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick, which will host the diving and swimming events at the Games. The £73 million project is set to be completed in spring 2022 and is a clear example of how our event can leave a lasting legacy because it has been built primarily with long-term community health and wellbeing in mind.
“With most venues now in place, or very close to completion, Birmingham 2022 has been able to focus primarily on delivering an exceptional event for the city, the country and the Commonwealth.”
Historic women’s sport and para-sport programmes at Birmingham 2022
“Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge advocate of women’s sport. That is perhaps no great surprise given that I joined the CGF from my previous role as General Manager of Women’s Rugby at World Rugby.
“Therefore, I am focused on maximising the role Birmingham 2022 can play in promoting women’s sport given its historic position as the first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men.
“Equally important is the promotion of Para sport given the unique status of the Commonwealth Games as a fully integrated competition.
“Birmingham will have more para sports on the programme than any Commonwealth Games in history which provides a fantastic platform to showcase the best Para athletes on the planet.”
Covid-19 pandemic and the 2022 Commonwealths:
“We all know this has not been an easy task with the ongoing pandemic but I am so reassured that Birmingham 2022 has world-leading experts in place to ensure the delivery of a safe and secure major sporting event.
“The 2022 Commonwealth Games is fortunate because our place in the calendar allows us to learn from other major sporting events, both in England and abroad, in terms of their own COVID protocols. This means we can implement global best-practice at the Games.”
Sustainability, innovation and finding a host for the 2026 Games:
“With a focus on sustainability, creativity and legacy, Birmingham 2022 will be a launchpad towards an exciting future for Commonwealth Sport – providing innovations that will become a blueprint for future editions of the Games.
“I am often asked about the future of the Games because, in addition to delivering Birmingham 2022, a primary focus for me is obviously future editions of the competition, most notably in 2026. I am fortunate because shortly before I arrived, under the leadership of Dame Louise, our membership approved a new Strategic Roadmap to provide future hosts and sports with the renewed flexibility to be innovative in delivering the Games.
“It has put us in a wonderful position to do something creative and evolutionary with the event moving forwards, which has allowed us to have exciting conversations with potential future host cities
“Right now though priority number one is Birmingham 2022 and we will see 11 unforgettable days of competition that will promote Commonwealth Sport at its best and brightest,” concluded Chief Executive Katie Sadleir.