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Counting Down to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Counting Down to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

It’s amazing to think that, in just 150 days, the eyes of the Commonwealth and a third of the world’s population will be on Birmingham as 72 nations and territories compete in the 22nd Commonwealth Games. As an Official Partner of the Games, the University has been busy putting preparations in place for when thousands of spectators and athletes, plus the Games’ workforce and wider family, come to campus this summer.

Since the turn of the New Year, the pace of activities has increased massively as both the University and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (B2022) move out of the planning phase and into delivery.

Preparations across our Commonwealth Games commitments for this summer on campus are steaming ahead across all our venue and village operations, with eleven separate contracts/venue use agreements now in place. We’ve also been busy refurbishing our two water-based hockey pitches, ensuring they’re up to the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) standard.

University sports pitches

In addition to this Games being the first to host more medal events for women than men, Birmingham 2022 will also have the largest ever integrated para-sport programme. With the University being the principal Athletes’ Village for the Games via our excellent accommodation at the Vale Village, we’ve also completed further capital works on campus to ensure we accommodate the access needs of para-athletes staying at the Village.

The Vale Village aerial view
The Vale Village, the site of the Games’ largest Athletes’ Village.

As the official competition venue for hockey and squash, our extensive capital programme to support the requirements of the Games will continue at pace over the next few months with the demolition of our old sports pavilion. We will also be working with B2022 and their overlay contractors to commence the build of all the temporary infrastructure multi-sport mega events require. These temporary structures are used across various functional areas of the Games (such as security, transport and catering), and are key to ensuring that no costly infrastructure is put into place that won’t have a long-term use once the Games moves to its next host city.

More recently, the University has been supporting the B2022, wider region, and UK internationally at the Expo 2020 Dubai; our Dubai campus hosted the Queen’s Baton Relay here in support of the West Midlands Business and Tourism Programme, which launched a new major events plan for the region.

We were also delighted to host Jo Lomas, the UK Commonwealth Envoy, on campus last month as part of her tour to launch Commonwealth Connections. Commonwealth Connections is a joint project by the B2022 and British Council that twins schools in the West Midlands with those in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean. Jo met our Commonwealth scholars and sports scholars on our UBSport Scholarship and bursary programme, had a guided tour of the competition venues being used for hockey and squash, and met with our new Vice Chancellor, plus senior leaders across our wider Commonwealth Games team.

Jo Lomas stands between UB Sport students
Jo Lomas (second from the left) with our students.

As we look ahead, the next 150 days will be a flurry of excitement. We’re busy preparing for our University-wide Commonwealth Day celebrations on 14 March and are looking forward to the ‘100 days to go’ milestone on 19 April. To ensure our Games-time delivery is seamless, we’re also actively recruiting dozens of roles to support our Games operations through the University’s student recruitment agency, Worklink.

Game-changing Birmingham sign with Old Joe in the background.

The University of Birmingham has the most comprehensive university partnership agreement in the history of the Commonwealth Games. We are proud and delighted to be playing our part in making Birmingham 2022 the most successful Games ever, and look forward to welcoming spectators, teams, athletes, the Games’ workforce, and the wider Games family to campus and The Exchange this summer.

Tom Clift

Tom Clift

View all posts by Tom Clift

Tom manages the delivery of a number of strategic partnership projects, particularly across the areas of sport and major events. At present he is leading the delivery of the University’s Commonwealth Games venue and village operations.

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