Organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have revealed that 3×3 basketball and beach volleyball competitions will be played at bespoke arenas developed on the city’s Smithfield site.
The site, which formerly housed Birmingham’s Wholesale Markets, will feature two side-by-side arenas. The announcement was made yesterday (Tuesday), which marked two years until the start of the Games.
Organisers said the city-centre site would create an “urban hub” for the Games, with the venues to be a short walk from the Bullring shopping centre. Temporary courts for 3×3 basketball and beach volleyball have been set up as part of the two-years-to-go celebrations.
Birmingham 2022 has secured the site after working closely with the host city and the respective national governing bodies and international federations. Smithfield is owned by Birmingham City Council.
The 2022 event will mark the debut of 3×3 basketball at the Games, with wheelchair basketball also set to be contested for the first time. Beach volleyball will be making its second appearance at the Games having made its debut at Gold Coast 2018.
Birmingham 2022 chief executive 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.”
Dame Louise Martin, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, recently stepped down from the Birmingham 2022 board to be replaced by Sandra Osborne QC, president of the Barbados Olympic and Commonwealth Games Associations, as criticism grew over a lack of diversity among the Games’ organising committee.
It came after a group of senior political figures from Birmingham – among the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities – called for “urgent action” over the almost exclusively white executive management team and board for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
Alexander Stadium will serve as the main venue for the Games. Its current capacity of 12,700 will be expanded to over 40,000 for the event, with its permanent seating capacity to be 18,000 once the Games have ended.
Earlier this month it emerged that the redevelopment of the stadium has been delayed until April 2022, leaving just three months between the scheduled completion date and the opening ceremony.