In exactly two years’ time, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will begin, and organisers are marking this major milestone on the countdown to the Games by unveiling Smithfield, with its impressive cityscape backdrop, as the chosen location to create two bespoke arenas side by side to stage the 3×3 basketball and beach volleyball competitions.
Smithfield, previously the site of Birmingham’s Wholesale Markets, is located at the heart of the city centre and will be a crucial venue, for the host city, creating an urban hub that’s just a short walk from Birmingham’s famous Bullring shopping centre, with views of the Rotunda and Selfridges building.
The new venue announcement has been warmly welcomed by the sports that will play there and comes on what would have been the fourth day of sporting action at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, who is visiting the site today, said: “2022 will be a fantastic year of celebration for the UK, with a number of major events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Festival 2022.
“With two years to go until Birmingham 2022, we’ve reached another major milestone. The site at Smithfield will be right at the heart of that, acting as a powerful focal point in making this a Games for everyone and helping to create a real buzz in the heart of the city.”
Birmingham 2022 finalised using the Smithfield site after working closely with the host city and the national governing bodies and international federations for the sports.
Chief Executive Officer for Birmingham 2022, Ian Reid, said: “Today marks exactly two years to go until the official opening ceremony for Birmingham 2022 and we’re on track with our plans to host a spectacular event which will not only put Birmingham and the West Midlands centre stage but will also be an integral part of the region’s recovery plan following the global pandemic, bringing jobs for local people and contracts for local businesses.
“Smithfield is a fantastic location for these two sports, allowing us to bring together thousands of local people and spectators from further afield and enabling us to create a key hub for the Games in the heart of the city centre. It’s currently a blank canvas which will allow us to transform this location into a vibrant venue for two exciting sports that will no doubt bring a festival atmosphere to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
The Commonwealth Games Federation is also joining the other Games Partners in celebrating the countdown to Birmingham 2022 and CGF President, Dame Louise Martin DBE, said: “Today marks two years to go to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It only feels like yesterday that the Commonwealth Games Federation awarded the city the right to stage the XXII edition of the competition, when in reality, that announcement was back in December 2017!
“Birmingham and the West Midlands are making excellent progress towards staging a fantastic competition for athletes, fans and spectators, alike, across the Commonwealth.
“Birmingham is one of the most culturally diverse cities of the UK, home to 187 nationalities which makes the 2022 Commonwealth Games really feel like a home Games for all of our 71 nations and territories. It is truly a Commonwealth city. We are looking forward to welcoming the world to the West Midlands in just two years’ time.”
Birmingham 2022 today announced in September 2019 a change in venue for netball, following the recent growth in popularity of the sport.
After a massive increase in its profile since Team England’s gold medal-winning heroics on the Gold Coast in 2018 and England’s hosting of the Netball World Cup in July, the sport moved from the Coventry Indoor Arena to the NEC, increasing capacity and allowing more netball fans the opportunity to enjoy the sport in the summer of 2022.
For more information visit the Birmingham 2022 website here.