The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers have announced that athletes and team officials will be housed in three ‘campus’ villages with locations at The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, and The NEC Hotel Campus.
The decision to move away from the single site athletes’ village in the Perry Barr area of the city has been made with just under two years to go, after reviewing the impact of the global health pandemic.
This new campus model will see athletes and officials housed at sites close to competition venues – with 1,600 athletes the NEC Hotel Campus; 1,900 at The University of Warwick: and 2,800 at the principal village with at The University of Birmingham. This is in addition to a hotel close to the track cycling which will be held at the London 2012 Olympic venue in Stratford.
With a shorter than normal timeframe for delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Games, the new accommodation site had very little scope to withstand the impact COVID-19 has had on construction.
The Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme, which was to be the home of the Games Village, with new housing and transport infrastructure, will still be delivered. This council-led residential scheme has been accelerated due to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and has been made possible with additional investment from the central government.
The decision to move to three campus villages across the West Midlands has the support of athlete representatives and Commonwealth Games Associations across the world, including Commonwealth Games Australia, who have been kept informed of the plans.
Commonwealth Games Australia Chief Executive Officer Craig Phillips said the impacts of COVID-19 are inescapable.
“We are all operating in a challenging and vastly different environment from any we have previously experienced and this requires us all to be nimble and accept that plans will inevitably change and often those changes will be significant,” Phillips said.
“While a single Games Village is the norm, we know these aren’t normal times and accept that, despite the best of efforts by the B2022 Organising Committee, this will not be possible for Birmingham.
“Commonwealth Games Australia thanks the B2022 Organising Committee for their openness in sharing the changes to the Games Village solution. We will remain flexible in our planning to ensure we achieve our two overriding objectives for the Games – that our athletes are able to achieve their best possible performances, and they have the best possible Games experience. This remains our focus.
“Birmingham 2022 will be a different Games experience; however, it will be a Games experience to remember.”
Australian team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas acknowledged having the team split across multiple village sites would be a challenge, but is one that needs to be accepted.
“Whilst it is disappointing that the Birmingham Games have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we welcome the early decision of the Organising Committee to have multiple village locations as it provides some degree of certainty in a very uncertain world at present. It is also pleasing to hear that the Perry Bar regeneration project will still be delivered, leaving a lasting legacy for the people of Birmingham.”
“We will now work on how we can best develop our team plans around the different village sites, including the track cycling team, whose venue is at Olympic Park In London. There will be some logistical challenges with providing medical and support services to our team members in the various village locations, however we will work through all these areas in the coming months and come up with the best possible solution for our team.”
“As Craig has said, we aren’t operating in normal times and Birmingham won’t be a normal Games. We accept that and will focus on providing a performance focussed environment and making it the best possible experience for our team members.”
Details of the village plan include:
The University of Birmingham
- Already confirmed as a competition venue for Hockey and Squash, close to the Cricket
- Approximately 2,800 bed spaces
- Overall single en-suite accommodation, with potential to increase capacity in larger studio rooms
- Substantial internal catering space and external spaces for extension
- £55million development of The Sport & Fitness Club that features a 50m swimming pool, a large multi-sports arena, six glass-backed squash courts, a 10m climbing wall and five activity studios, as well as extensive rugby pitches. The gym boasts over 200 pieces of equipment and weights training space and it is already used by elite athletes from across the University sporting roster
The University of Warwick
- £49 million recent investment into the site. Featuring a huge sports hall, 12-lane 25-metre swimming pool complete with a movable floor, state-of-the-art gym, studio spaces, climbing walls, squash and netball courts, and outdoor pitches, visiting athletes will have every aspect of the facilities at their disposal.
- Substantial catering, recreational and other facilities
- Single room ensuite accommodation
- Approximately 1,900 bed spaces
- Accommodation is close to Rugby Sevens, Lawn Bowls, Judo and Wrestling competition venues
The NEC Hotel Campus
- Athletes and team officials will be close to NEC competition venues and training facilities
- Approximately 1,600 bed spaces, primarily in 4-star accommodation
- Excellent accommodation with largely ensuite single or twin rooms
We’ve announced changes to athletes’ accommodation for #Birmingham2022
Competitors and team officials will now stay in one of three campus villages at @unibirmingham @warwickuni and hotels at the NEC
Find out more: https://t.co/YLHh6STx11
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) August 11, 2020
Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022 said:
“These are challenging times for all of us and delivering a major multi sports event during this period has meant we have needed to collaborate effectively, be pragmatic to change, and remain realistic about the challenges we face.”
“We recognise that this new model is a move away from the historic norm and we are grateful for the support shown by our partners across the Commonwealth Games Associations.”
Commonwealth Games Australia is planning to send one of its largest teams to compete in an away campaign with an expected team size of 425 athletes across 19 sports, including the recently introduced women’s T20 cricket.
The largest team for an away Commonwealth Games is 409 athletes in Glasgow in 2014.
Australia was represented by 473 athletes on the Gold Coast with the team topping the medal tally with 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze medals.
Birmingham 2022 is set for the largest-ever female and para-sport programme in history with women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball and Para-table tennis joining the existing sports including aquatics (swimming, Para-swimming and diving), athletics and Para-athletics, badminton, basketball 3×3 and wheelchair basketball 3×3, boxing, cycling (mountain, road, track and Para-track), gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), hockey, judo, lawn bowls and Para-bowls, netball, rugby sevens, squash, table tennis, triathlon and Para-triathlon, weightlifting and Para-powerlifting and wrestling.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August.
Find out more at www.birmingham2022.com