Athletics and Alexander Stadium

UK Athletics is based at the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, which will be the focal venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The stadium has hosted Diamond League meetings, while Utilita Arena Birmingham staged the World Indoor Athletics Championships in 2018. Local club Birchfield Harriers was founded in 1877 and is one of the most prestigious in the country.

Birmingham tennis player Ann Jones won both Wimbledon and the French Open ©Getty Images
Birmingham tennis player Ann Jones won both Wimbledon and the French Open ©Getty Images

Ann Jones

Birmingham tennis player Ann Jones won three Grand Slam singles titles, including Wimbledon in 1969. She also won the French Open in 1961 and 1966. Jones won five Grand Slam titles in doubles.

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Birmingham City

One of the West Midlands' major football clubs, the "Blues" regularly attract crowds of more than 20,000 to their home of St Andrew's. Founded in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, the club currently play in the Championship. They have won the League Cup twice, in 1963 and 2011.


Badminton is an important sport in the West Midlands. The famous All England Open Badminton Championships, one of the sport's most prestigious prizes, has been held at the Utilita Arena Birmingham since 2004 and dates back to 1899. The Solihull Badminton League has been running for more than 40 years after it was founded in 1972. The club organises the Battledore Cup, a knock-out handicap tournament. In 2010, the club set a world record for the most number of participants in a badminton rally - 113.


Clubs in the West Midlands include the City of Birmingham Rockets.


West Midlands boxers include Richie Woodall, who held the WBC super-middleweight title between 1998 and 1999. He also won light middleweight bronze at the Seoul 1998 Olympics and Commonwealth gold at Auckland 1990. Frankie Gavin is a former British and Commonwealth lightweight champion, while Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist Gamal Yafai is a former European super-bantamweight champion.

Gamal Yafai, left, is part of the boxing landscape in the West Midlands ©Getty Images
Gamal Yafai, left, is part of the boxing landscape in the West Midlands ©Getty Images

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Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham is one of the leading cricket grounds in the country, and regularly hosts major international matches. Warwickshire CCC play at Edgbaston, which has also hosted the finals of the T20 Blast since 2013. The Birmingham and District Cricket League, formed in 1888, is the oldest recorded league in the world. 


The Birmingham BMX Track, home to the Birmingham BMX Club, hosted the World Championships in 2012 and is regarded as one of the best tracks in Europe. Cannock Chase Forest, designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, will host mountain biking during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Warwick and Wolverhampton will stage road cycling. 

Coventry Building Society Arena

The Coventry Building Society Arena includes a world-class stadium with a 32,000 capacity and an adjoining arena 6,000 square metre hall. It is home to Coventry City FC, Wasps RFC and Wasps Netball.

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Birmingham has been a regular stop on the Premier League Darts circuit, run by the Professional Darts Corporation. Utilita Arena Birmingham has hosted a leg every year since 2007, apart from years impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the sport's most prestigious prizes, the Grand Slam of Darts, calls the West Midlands home. It has been staged at the Civic Hall and Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, and at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Denise Lewis

Denise Lewis won Olympic gold in the heptathlon at Sydney 2000, as well as two Commonwealth Games titles and a pair of World Championship silver medals. The West Bromwich native is a member of Birchfield Harriers and is now President of Commonwealth Games England.

Denise Lewis won gold in the heptathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Denise Lewis won gold in the heptathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

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Horse racing takes place at Wolverhampton Racecourse, one of the busiest courses in Britain and the first to install floodlights. It hosts up to 80 race meetings a year, alongside several concerts and other events. Wolverhampton stages all weather racing between October and April, as one of only six racecourses in the UK that holds numerous meetings during this timeframe. The NEC in Birmingham hosts the Horse of the Year Show annually.


The Insomnia Gaming Festival is a huge esports event which takes place annually at the NEC in Birmingham. Daily esports competitions take place, while there are special guests and expert panels. 

Ellie Simmonds

Para-swimmer Ellie Simmonds was born in Walsall and won five Paralympic gold medals during her career. She also won 14 world titles in her S6 categories.

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Birmingham Fencing Club is one of the oldest in the UK, and traces its origins back to 1871. The club presented fencing and athletic displays annually at Birmingham Town Hall and across the West Midlands. In May 2017, the club relocated to the University of Birmingham's purpose built sports centre. Members represented Britain at the Olympics in 1928 and 1936.

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The Belfry in Wishaw is one of the world's most famous golf courses. It has hosted the Ryder Cup four times, more than any other course. A regular host on the European Tour, The Belfry was named as the world's best golf hotel in 2019. It was named as England's best incentive hotel at the World MICE Awards in 2021.


Birmingham hosted the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 1993. The action took place at the National Exhibition Centre. The Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships were in the city in 2011, and will be so again in 2023.

Birmingham hosted the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 1993 ©Getty Images
Birmingham hosted the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 1993 ©Getty Images

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The University of Birmingham's women's team play in the top flight of English hockey - the England Women's Hockey League Premier Division. The men's team play in the second tier - Division One North. Other local clubs include Edgbaston and Bournville.

The Midlands Hockey League runs a number of divisions, including the Men's and Women's Premier Divisions. It is run by Midlands Hockey, the governing body for the sport in the region.

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Ice hockey

Coventry Blaze play in the Elite Ice Hockey League - the top tier for the sport in the UK. The team play at the Coventry Skydome and are one of the most successful clubs, having won the league title four times, two play-off crowns and two Challenge Cups. Solihull Barons play in Division One of the English Ice Hockey League.

IBSA World Games

The 2023 International Blind Sports Federation World Games, a multi-sport event for blind and partially sighted athletes, has been awarded to Birmingham for 2023. The Games are due to take place from August 18 to 27 at the University of Birmingham, the Edgbaston area and the wider region.

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The British Judo Centre of Excellence is located at the University of Wolverhampton's Walsall campus. It is one of the best judo facilities in Europe and its goal is to produce Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. The centre has two Olympic size competition areas, and is home to world class coaches and equipment. Wolverhampton Judo Club is one of the best in Britain, having produced Olympic and world medallists.

Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is where some of sport's most famous trophies have been made. This includes the men's and women's trophies at Wimbledon and the FA Cup trophy. Olympic Torches for the London 1948 Games, and Lonsdale boxing belts, have also been created there.

Jordanne Whiley

Halesowen wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley won the US Open singles title in 2015. The three-time Paralympic medallist also claimed 12 Grand Slam titles in doubles, including five Wimbledon crowns.

Wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley is from Halesowen and has won several Grand Slams ©Getty Images
Wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley is from Halesowen and has won several Grand Slams ©Getty Images

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With its sizeable population of people with Indian heritage, the West Midlands is a centre for kabaddi in the UK. Three teams from the region will compete in the new British Kabaddi League which is due to launch in February 2022 - Birmingham Warriors, Wolverhampton Wolfpack and Walsall Hunters. Birmingham has hosted a leg of the Kabaddi World Cup.

Karen Carney

Karen Carney is one of the most capped players in the history of England's women's football team, having played 144 times. She was born in Solihull and played for Birmingham City, Arsenal, Chicago Red Stars and Chelsea during her career. Carney played for Britain at the London 2012 Olympics and won three league titles with Arsenal. After her playing career, she moved into covering the game on television and radio. 

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Birmingham Lacrosse Club was founded in the 1930s and is an example of the diversity of sports which are found across the West Midlands. The club fields a women's team which plays in the South West Lacrosse League.

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The West Midlands is a thriving centre for the motor industry, with Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover among the famous names to have a presence there. Coventry was nicknamed "motor city" in the 1950s due to the number of car plants, while the National Motorcycle Museum is in Solihull. Wolverhampton Wolves are a top-flight speedway team which races at Monmore Green Stadium, while other local teams include Birmingham Brummies and Cradley Heathens.

Mark Lewis-Francis

Birmingham's sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis won Olympic gold for Britain in the 4x100m relay at Athens 2004. He ran the final leg and famously held off Maurice Greene of the United States. Lewis-Francis also won Commonwealth and European gold, and two World Championship bronze medals, in the relay.

Mark Lewis-Francis comes home to win 4x100m relay gold for Britain at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Mark Lewis-Francis comes home to win 4x100m relay gold for Britain at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

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The West Midlands is represented in the Netball Superleague - the top tier for the sport - by Wasps Netball. They have won the league title twice and the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship once. Wasps play at the Coventry Building Society Arena. Netball West Midlands governs the sport in the region and is based in Wolverhampton.

Nigel Mansell

Nigel Mansell grew up in Hall Green, Birmingham, and won the Formula One world title in 1992. He also won the CART Indy Car World Series a year later.


The National Exhibition Centre in Marston Green was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976, and is Britain's largest exhibition space. It has hosted a number of major sporting events at the Resorts World Arena.

National City of Sport

Birmingham was the first city in the UK to be awarded the title "National City of Sport" by the UK Sports Council.

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Olympic bid

Birmingham launched a bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, ultimately losing out to Barcelona. The city was one of six to make the start-line at the International Olympic Committee Session in Lausanne in Switzerland, with Paris, Brisbane, Belgrade and Amsterdam also in the running. Birmingham received eight votes in the first round and then eight again in the second, as the city was eliminated.

Wenlock Olympian Games

The Wenlock Olympian Games date back to 1850 and are considered as the forerunner to the Modern Olympic Games, which were revived in Athens in 1896. They are held every year, centring around the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock. They are organised by the Wenlock Olympian Society and feature a number of different sports.

Motorsport icon Nigel Mansell grew up in Hall Green ©Getty Images
Motorsport icon Nigel Mansell grew up in Hall Green ©Getty Images

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The West Midlands boasts some fantastic parks for sport and recreation, including Sutton Park, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston Reservoir, Sandwell Valley Country Park, Walsall Arboretum, Coombe Abbey Park and Elmdon Park. 

Perry the Bull

Perry the Bull is the mascot for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. He features a patchwork of multi-coloured hexagons and is named after the Perry Barr area of the city, the location of Alexander Stadium. A bull was chosen due to Birmingham's historic Bull Ring area, while Perry also wears a medal in reference to the city's Jewellery Quarter.

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Queen's Baton Relay

The Queen's Baton Relay will arrive in Birmingham before the start of the 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 28, after journeying around the Commonwealth's 72 nations and territories.


West Midlands Revolution were one of the founder members of the Quidditch Premier League - playing the real-life version of the fictional sport made famous by J.K Rowling's Harry Potter books. They won the inaugural title after a perfect season.

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Rugby was born in the West Midlands at Rugby School, where the first rules for the sport were written. The region is now represented at the highest level by Wasps, who play at the Coventry Building Society Arena. They compete in Premiership Rugby and European competitions.

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The under-construction Sandwell Aquatics Centre will provide a world class venue for swimming and diving in the West Midlands. It is being built for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games but will open for public use after the event, ensuring a strong legacy. Moseley Road Baths is a historic grade II listed pool in Balsall Heath. The Royal School in Wolverhampton has produced stars including Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Matt Richards.

St. George's Park

St. George's Park is the home of England's national football teams, and is located in Burton upon Trent. It features 14 outdoor pitches, including a replica of the Wembley Stadium pitch in London.

Wolverhampton Athletics Club member Tessa Sanderson is an Olympic gold medallist in the javelin ©Getty Images
Wolverhampton Athletics Club member Tessa Sanderson is an Olympic gold medallist in the javelin ©Getty Images

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Lawn tennis was invented and first played in Birmingham over 150 years ago. The Birmingham Classic is a grass court tennis tournament held at the Edgbaston Priory Club. The Women's Tennis Association event is seen as a key warm-up competition before Wimbledon. The Edgbaston Priory Club is a private members' tennis, squash and leisure club in Birmingham, while Leamington Tennis and Squash Club was the world's first club in lawn tennis.

Tessa Sanderson

Tessa Sanderson grew up in Wednesfield and was a member of Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club. She won Olympic gold in the javelin at Los Angeles 1984, and three Commonwealth Games titles.

Three Degrees

West Bromwich Albion's trio of Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis were given the nickname the "Three Degrees" after the music group of the same name. Regis, a striker, Cunningham, a flying winger, and Batson, a defender, were huge fan favourites thanks to their superb displays. The trio played a huge impact in the fight against racism in British football. A statue in their honour was unveiled in West Bromwich in 2019.

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University of Birmingham

More than £65 million in investment has been spent at the University of Birmingham's sporting facilities. This includes a new hockey and squash facility which will host competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Usain Bolt

Sprint superstar Usain Bolt and the Jamaican sprinting team held a training camp at the University of Birmingham before the London 2012 Olympic Games. After winning both the 100 metres and 200m, Bolt praised Birmingham, saying: "The Birmingham people, when we were at camp, were extremely great to us."

West Bromwich Albion's
West Bromwich Albion's "Three Degrees" will have an eternal place in the club's history ©Getty Images

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Another of the region's major football clubs, Aston Villa currently play in the Premier League and attract crowds of around 42,000 at Villa Park. The club lifted the European Cup in 1982 and they have been league champions seven times. Other honours include one Super Cup, seven FA Cups and five League Cups. Villa Park has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals than any other stadium.


Coventry & Warwick Riga is one of the largest volleyball clubs in the West Midlands and can trace its history back to 1947, when it was formed by Latvian exiles.

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West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion play their football in the Championship with average crowds of more than 21,000 at The Hawthorns. Honours include one league title, five FA Cups and one League Cup.


Wolverhampton Wanderers, usually known as Wolves, currently play in the Premier League, attracting attendances of more than 30,000 at Molineux. The club has won three league titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups. 


Wolverhampton Wrestling Club was founded in 1972 and has a tradition of producing Olympic-standard athletes.

Women and Sport Conference

The Women and Sport Conference, described as the biggest gathering in the world for "people engaged in accelerating gender equity in sport and physical activity", will take place in Birmingham in 2026.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the 22nd edition of the multi-sport event ©Birmingham 2022
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the 22nd edition of the multi-sport event ©Birmingham 2022

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XXII Commonwealth Games

Birmingham will host the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games, the 22nd staging of the famous multi-sport event. The city was chosen as the English candidate over Liverpool, and stepped in to host the Games after Durban in South Africa was stripped of the hosting rights. Events will be held in Birmingham itself and across the West Midlands.

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The West Midlands is a sporting destination all-year round. Whether it is football in the autumn and winter, cricket in the summer, or major one-off events at any time, there will always be something to get your teeth into.

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Italian football legend Gianfranco Zola managed Birmingham City between 2016 and 2017. He was the first non British/Irish manager of the club but won just two out of his 24 matches in charge.