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one year to go for a lifetime of memories; The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is just under a year away and organisers say they will bring people together and provide the same joy, inspiration and thrills as the Tokyo Olympics. IAN REID, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022 explains why.

Byline: IAN REID

WEDNESDAY was a very special day in the countdown to Birmingham 2022 as it marked exactly one year until the Games begin.

We celebrated with a spectacular drone show over Birmingham city centre and a huge sports festival in Centenary Square, which provided an opportunity for people to come and have a go at many of the sports that will be part of the Games.

It was also a chance to meet some of the Team England athletes who will be hoping to compete right here in

Birmingham next summer.

For some event organisers, the one year to go milestone might be a nervous time, as the Games starts to feel more real and we begin to talk about the number of months and days to go, instead of the number of years, however for me and the rest of the Birmingham 2022 team it was truly a day of celebration.

We are in a great place right now, as we are on schedule and on budget to deliver a truly memorable edition of the Games and we've taken some huge steps forward with the delivery of the Games in recent weeks.

Earlier this month we launched the West Midlands ticket ballot and we have easily surpassed our applications target which just reinforces what I have known for a long time - people who live in the West Midlands are ready to embrace the Games and are truly looking forward to the opportunity to witness some of the world's best athletes competing in venues across the region and beyond.

And what a portfolio of venues we have!

We've got a fantastic mix of established arenas and stadiums with the likes of the NEC, Arena Birmingham, Edgbaston Stadium and Coventry Stadium all hosting sports but we also have four beautiful parks involved too.

This includes Sutton Park as our triathlon venue, Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa, which will host the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls competition, and St Nicholas Park in Warwick and West Park in Wolverhampton hosting the start and finish of the cycling road race events.

We'll also be taking over Smithfield for our beach volleyball, basketball 3x3 and wheelchair basketball 3x3 competitions. We'll be transforming this site and it's going to be a wonderful Games location, creating a key hub for Birmingham 2022 in the heart of the city centre.

To complete the portfolio, we also have two major venue construction projects taking place ahead of the Games and, with less than a year to go, I'm pleased to report that we're very confident that these venues will not only be ready in time for the Games but we believe they will provide incredible backdrops for some of the key moments of Birmingham 2022.

The Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, which is currently undergoing a PS72 million makeover, with one formidable new stand replacing three old stands, will not only host the hotly anticipated athletics events but it will also be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies. We'll be releasing more details about these ceremonies soon but I have no doubt that they will provide moments that spectators will remember for the rest of their lives.

Alongside the Alexander Stadium, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre is our other major venue project and in fact this centre is our only brand new venue for the Games. I had the pleasure of visiting this construction site just last month and I was hugely impressed with the progress they have been making. It's a crucial venue for the Games, hosting more medal moments than any other, with swimming, Para swimming and diving all being held there and we've seen in recent days with performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics how strong the home nations are in these sports.

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The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games launch event in Centenary Square

Beach volleyball player Vicky Palmer
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Author:IAN REID
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 29, 2021
Words:648
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