Today (Friday 27 July) marks four years to go until the start of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
To celebrate, young gymnasts who live and train in the Games’ host city will gather at the Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre (GMAC), in Perry Barr, for a special training session.
The gymnasts, some of whom have already competed internationally, will be joined by four-year-olds from across the West Midlands region. The children will meet the gymnasts, watch part of the training session, and learn what it’s like to be a gymnast.
John Crabtree, Chair of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, said: “This moment is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made on all fronts to ensure we deliver an event that promotes the best of the city, region and wider UK on an international stage.
“We are getting on with the planning and preparation – and everything is on course for an event that champions the youth, diversity, humanity and pride of the city and Commonwealth during the summer of 2022.
“Much of that work is currently in the background, but over the weeks and months ahead there will be much more to see, helping show what these Games are about, and how people can personally become a part of the Birmingham 2022 story.”
The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from 27 July to 7 August – twenty years after the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and on the exact – to the day – ten-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Games will bring together 6,500 athletes and officials in one of Europe’s youngest cities, which is already home to nearly 200 different nationalities from across the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
As well as delivering a showcase for sport and a platform for the city’s rich arts and culture scene, the Commonwealth Games will accelerate new housing and transport, create jobs and apprenticeships and deliver a programme that will promote and strengthen trade opportunities across the Commonwealth.
The Gymnastics and Marital Arts Centre (GMAC) is located in Perry Barr, on the same site as the Alexander Stadium, which will host the athletics and opening and closing ceremonies. The GMAC is used as a training base by the City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club and by some of the country’s best gymnasts – including Dominick Cunningham, who won a bronze on vault and team gold at his Commonwealth Games debut in Gold Coast 2018. They all have Birmingham 2022 firmly in their sights.
Artistic Gymnastics is one of the core sports on the Commonwealth Games programme and was one of the most successful for Team England at Gold Coast 2018, with the team winning a total of 16 medals – six gold, seven silver, and three bronze.
The gymnastics events at the 2022 Commonwealth Games are due to be held at Arena Birmingham, in the heart of the city centre, a venue which hosted the Gymnastics World Cup in March this year, and previously hosted the European Gymnastics Championships in 2010, and the Gymnastics World Cup Final in 2004.
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “In four years’ time Birmingham will welcome the Commonwealth and the world for an amazing festival of sport.
"We are on the way to putting on a brilliant event that showcases the best of Britain and brings lasting benefits to the people of Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "In four years' time we will be welcoming many of the world's top athletes to Birmingham for the biggest event that this city has ever hosted.
“We're determined that young people from Birmingham and right across the West Midlands will be centre-stage. Hosting the Commonwealth Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire and motivate young people, and we want them to be at the very heart of the Games, proud of their city, and to be able to build on the legacy of a fantastic event in 2022.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “The countdown is on and you can feel the excitement building, especially amongst our younger people.
“Not only will these Games be a wonderful sporting event, they will also bring new homes, transport and jobs, and a unique opportunity to showcase to the world the ingenuity, creativity and energy of the West Midlands.
“We will be working hard as a region over the next four years to make that happen.”
Louise Martin CBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said: “With fond memories of Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 still in our minds – and continued and tangible benefits for host communities – it is with huge excitement that we begin the countdown to Birmingham 2022. Over the next four years, people of all ages and backgrounds will have the opportunity to be part of an inspiring new chapter in Birmingham’s proud history.”
Ian Metcalfe, Chairman of Commonwealth Games England, said: “A home Games, is truly special and I know from talking to our athletes just how much they are already looking forward to competing in front of passionate English crowds.
“Preparations are already well underway and in Birmingham in 2022, Team England will be ready to make the whole nation proud once again.
“We’ve seen over the past few months, from our netball team to our men's football team just how sporting success brings the country together. I am sure that those unforgettable moments of this summer are just a taste of what is to come in four years’ time.”