Five athletes from the Midlands have pledged their support to Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, with the candidate city claiming it highlights the youth, diversity and inclusion of their plans.
Boxers Galal Yafai and Elise Glynn were among the athletes present at several of Birmingham’s major landmarks as they celebrated the city being shortlisted for the final phase of assessment in the UK candidate city selection process.
They were joined by rhythmic gymnast Mimi-Isabella Cesar, badminton player Fontaine Chapman and wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan.
Adenegan, who won silver and two bronze medals at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, claimed improvements to the Alexander Stadium would leave a strong legacy for athletics should the Games be awarded to Birmingham.
“Having just competed and won medals at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, I have seen first-hand the passion this country has for all sport, including Para athletics,” said Adenegan, who is from Coventry.
“I know that Birmingham 2022 would surpass this level of support for all athletes across all sports.
“With its plans to upgrade Alexander Stadium as part of its bid, Birmingham 2022 will also leave a powerful legacy, becoming the home of athletics, and inspiring more young people, including those with disabilities, to realise that sport is for them.”
The athletes travelled to Council House in Victoria Square, the award winning Library of Birmingham and the Barclaycard Arena.
The Barclaycard Arena, formerly the National Indoor Arena, has been proposed as the venue for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics and which has seating for 9,000 spectators.
Athletics and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies would take place at Alexander Stadium.
Three of the NEC’s largest halls would host boxing, judo, table tennis and freestyle wrestling and the Genting Arena has been earmarked to stage badminton.
The Symphony Hall would stage weightlifting and powerlifting, while hockey and squash would be played at the University of Birmingham.
Glynn, who is the 54 kilogram European women’s junior boxing champion, claimed she was excited by the prospect of potentially competing in the NEC in front of a home crowd.
“The Commonwealth Games are all about uniting people, giving all athletes a chance to realise their dreams and promoting equality and I cannot think of a better host city than Birmingham for delivering that," said the 15-year-old.
“The opportunity to represent my country in front of a home crowd at the NEC during Birmingham 2022 will keep me motivated and training hard and inspiring more youngsters to take up boxing as a sport.”
Birmingham or Liverpool are battling to be put forward as England's candidate for the 2022 Games, which were stripped from Durban in March by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) after the South African city failed to meet a series of financial deadlines.
Both cities have already undergone an inspection from the Government as the Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit (CGDU), established by the DCMS and led by Nick Pontefract, formerly the senior civil servant responsible for sport for the Government, visited them earlier this month.
UK Sport non-executive director Nicky Roche and Commonwealth Games England (CGE) chief executive Paul Blanchard are among the officials on the six-person independent assessment panel overseeing a potential bid.
It also includes Jan Paterson, the British Olympic Association's director of Olympic relations, and Sport England property director Charles Johnston.
The other two members of the panel, which will make a recommendation to the Government on their preferred candidate for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in "early September", are Ian McKenzie and David Brooker
The CGF have not revealed exactly when the host city for 2022 will be chosen, although an announcement is expected in early November.
As well as Birmingham and Liverpool, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Victoria in Canada and Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia have expressed an interest in hosting the Games.
Their respective Commonwealth Games Associations have until September 30 to submit a formal bid to the CGF.
A review team, made up of CGF officials and international experts, is expected to review the merits of each bid in October.
Cities will then be given the chance to put their case to the CGF before a city is selected the following month.