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Kelly backs Brum for world championships; athlete visited stadium ahead of the 2022 commonwealth games.

Byline: IAN PARKER News Reporter

KELLY Sotherton wants to see Birmingham bid to host a future athletics world championship after getting a look at progress on reconstruction of the Alexander Stadium for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Sotherton, Team England's track and field leader for the Games, joined officials as they inspected progress on the PS72.4million scheme to overhaul the facility.

The stadium is being converted to seat around 30,000 spectators for the Games before reverting to a permanent capacity of 18,000.

With a long-term plan to bring more events to the city in the future, Sotherton said a world championship should be on the agenda.

"Birmingham has always done sport really well, hosting championships and hosting the indoors at the NIA, so why not?" she said.

"As part of the future legacy, it's probably what we'd want to do in the future. Obviously it's up to the powers that be but why not? If you've got a facility that is world class and is hosting a world-class event as its first major competition the future has no limit."

Sotherton, pictured, a member of the Birchfield Harriers club which is based at the Alexander Stadium, also said she wanted to see it get the nod ahead of the London Stadium for Diamond League meetings.

"I'm going to be biased and say I already think Birmingham is the home of athletics," she said. "It's got a great tradition and both England Athletics and UK Athletics are based there. I think we just loaned it to London.

"Now we'll have a stand-alone athletics stadium and hopefully we can feature big events at the stadium while bidding for future championships."

Brigid Jones, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said fans should "watch this space" with regards to the stadium's longterm future, while saying athletics would always remain its primary sport.

"There's a lot of really exciting potential in that stadium," Jones said. "We know it's going to be world class. We know it's going to be able to host those events in the future and we hope to be able to make some announcements at some point in the run up to the games."

Ian Reid, chief executive of Birmingham 2022, also delivered a positive update on the Sandwell Aquatics Centre after concerns had previously been raised over progress on the PS73 million facility which will open to the public following the Games.

"The aquatics centre is on time and on budget and there is a decent buffer within that program," he said.

"From where we sit today from a Games perspective we're absolutely delighted with the progress made on both capital projects and we fully expect them to be handed over in time to put the Games infrastructure around them. Both projects are in a very good place."


Progress at the Alexander Stadium, in Perry Barr, the site of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games and inset top, how it will look when finished

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Author:IAN PARKER News Reporter
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 21, 2020
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