28 JULY – 8 AUGUST 2022
With under two years to go until the Birmingham 2022 Games hit the city, the buzz in Brum is starting to gather momentum. With the two-year-old Sport & Fitness club hosting the Squash event, and the water-based synthetic pitches hosting the Hockey, our fabulous campus will be showcased across the world. But what do we know about the Games at the moment, and what does it mean for UoB?
First hosted in Canada in 1930, the Commonwealth Games is held every four years, involving athletes from the 71 Commonwealth Nations and Territories. From the first event in Canada in 1930, where 11 countries and 400 athletes took part, the Games has grown to 6,600 athletes and team officials attending last year’s Games in Australia’s Gold Coast.
2,000 paid staff and almost 15,000 volunteers contributed to the running of Gold Coast 2018, delivering a total of 275 events, in 18 sports and 7 para-sports. The Games was watched by over 1.5 billion viewers.
Between Thursday 28 July 2022 and Monday 8 August 2022. That means, students who joined UoB in 2019 or after will still be here when the Games come in 2022!
The Commonwealth incorporates a diverse and dynamic population of about 2.4 billion people, or almost a third of the global population. More than 60% of them are under 30. Birmingham is a microcosm of the Commonwealth population, known for its rich heritage and diverse, vibrant community.
Also one of the youngest cities in Europe, Birmingham is well-known for its warm welcome to visitors from around the world.
The 22nd Commonwealth Games will demonstrate to the world the very best of global Britain, showcasing the region’s strengths of being connected and accessible; youth and inclusivity; and a focus on regeneration and rejuvenation.
Birmingham is perfectly located to attract people to the Games and to ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and region, across the UK and the Commonwealth.
The 2022 Games was originally granted to Durban, which would have been the first African host of the Games. Unfortunately, Durban was unable to deliver the Games, and the Commonwealth Games Federation had to find a replacement in 2017, which reduced preparation from the usual 7 years to only 4. Birmingham was already preparing a bid for 2026, and with 95% of the competition venues already in place, Birmingham became a prudent and innovative replacement for Durban by bringing its bid forward to 2022.
Furthermore, Birmingham’s Games are set to be the most inclusive ones yet.
The addition of three new sports: women’s cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis, means that Birmingham has the potential for the largest ever para-sports programme and possibly more female medals than male for the first time, representing a great story not just for Birmingham 2022, but for women’s sport in general.
The University’s award-winning Sport & Fitness club includes six squash courts with adjustable walls for the larger doubles courts; and its 2,000m² indoor arena will house a spectacular all-glass court surrounded by over 2,000 spectator seats.
The water-based hockey pitches will also be transformed into a stadium of over 6,000 seats during the Games, with the stunning backdrop of the University’s iconic red-brick buildings. With both venues only a 5-minute walk from the University train station, and well connected to national rail networks – it makes for the perfect Games venue.
The other sports facilities, including the 50m training pool and 8-lane athletics track creates an ideal performance environment to make it a popular training and preparation venue for participating nations. In addition, the Games should present unprecedented opportunities to use campus accommodation for Games contractors, volunteers and spectators.
The Vale Village, the student accommodation on Edgbaston Park Road, will also be home to nearly 3,000 athletes, team members, coaches and staff as one area of the athletes’ village.
The University was also announced in September to be the latest official partner of the Games.
There will be some exciting volunteer opportunities for our students, alumni and staff; and hopefully a record number of our current students and alumni will be competing for a number of the Commonwealth Nations and Territories. Most recently, at the 2018 Gold Coast Games, we had 6 students and 18 alumni competing! Read more about them on our student sport blog.
Sign up for news and to register your interest on the Birmingham 2022 website. If you’re interested in volunteering, why not build up your experience with our Extra Mile programme on the dedicated volunteering webpage, to gain the knowledge and expertise of working at sports events on campus?