Commonwealth Games 2022: two time gold medalist Colin Jackson joins the race for volunteers

Two-time Commonwealth Champion - and Dancing on Ice star - Colin Jackson attended the first sessions at the Volunteer Selection Centre at the Library of Birmingham

Commonwealth Games double gold winner Colin Jackson urged Birmingham to grab the limelight while helping to select volunteers for the 2022 event.

The sprinter and hurdler, who also reached the finals of Dancing on Ice 2021, spoke to BirminghamWorld at the Volunteer Selection Centre at the Library of Birmingham.

He said: “It’s your absolute opportunity to showcase your city to the world.

“When you think of something like the Commonwealth Games you will have over a billion viewers - and that’s a lot of people who are seeing your area.”

More than 41,000 people applied to be volunteers at the Commonwealth Games 2022 - to help with driving, first aid, meeting and greeting, prepping venues, carrying kit and everything else to help the event run smoothly.

Around 25,000 volunteer-hopefuls are now going through the selection process - with the final team of 13,000 set to be in place by February.

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Colin added: “Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Commonwealth Games and play a hugely important role in making both athletes’ and spectators’ journeys very special. They are often the first people that visitors to the city and the Games meet, and their positivity always radiates through.

Birmingham 2022 is a unique opportunity to contribute to the community and I’m so excited to get the selection process off to a great start.”

Library of Birmingham

Why is the Volunteer selection process so important?

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The volunteers that join the Commonwealth Collective will be the public faces of Birmingham 2022 and represent the Games experience for athletes, officials, spectators and a global audience.

The Games is the largest sporting and cultural event ever to be held in the West Midlands and the biggest in the UK for a decade.

Organisers hope to form a dedicated and dynamic group that will reflect the diversity of the West Midlands as well as the modern Commonwealth.

Volunteer hopefuls are currently undergoing a 90-minute experience, including an exhibition about the Games and a cinema room, alongside a 30 minute interview.

Laura Easton, Volunteering Special Project Lead from Birmingham 2022 said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the response we’ve had from people who want to be a volunteer at Birmingham 2022 and we would like to thank every single person that has applied so far.”

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‘Basketball England’ players make use of a community basketball court revamped in Summerfield Park, Ladywood to launch the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games regional ticket ballot

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport and Tourism, said: “With less than a year to go, the opening of the volunteer selection centre is another major milestone on the road to delivering a fantastic Commonwealth Games that Birmingham and the country can be proud of.”

Paul Blanchard, Commonwealth Games England CEO said: “It’s so exciting that the selection process has started and the ‘Commonwealth Collective’ will be formed. A Games is only made possible by the fantastic volunteers and for athletes they play a crucial role in ensuring they’re supported through competition and have an incredible Games experience.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The response from those across the West Midlands and around the country has been phenomenal, and it is so encouraging to know that so many want to play their part in what will be a generation-defining event for our region.”

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “As a city our people are known for their warmth and their approachability – so I am sure the volunteers that are chosen will do a fantastic job of promoting Birmingham and supporting visitors to the wider region next year.”

300 drones lit up the skies of Birmingham last night (July 27) to celebrate one year to go until the start of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the announcement that the main public ticket ballot will run from 8-30 September 2021. To register for tickets, go to www.birmingham2022.com

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What do the volunteers say?

Adeeba Dempster, who was a volunteer at the London Olympic Games in 2012, said she was really keen to be involved at the Commonwealth Games once she found out it was being hosted in her city.

She said: “After the pride and the passion I got out of doing London 2012 - when I found out I Birmingham my hometown was going to get the Commonwealth Games I didn’t care what role I got I just wanted to be involved to give something back to Birmingham because I’m proud to be a Brummie and to be part of the commonwealth collective.

Morgan Lake competes in the Women’s high jump final at the 2019 Muller British Athletics Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham - a key venue for the Commonwealth Games 2022 (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Can I get tickets to the Commonwealth Games and when does they start?

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The Commonwealth Games takes place from 28 July to 8 August 2022.

The event will see the best athletes from countries in the Commonwealth compete in an international multi-sport spectacle seen as a celebration of the union.

Thousands of athletes will compete in 286 sessions across 19 different sports over 11 days of competition.

The main Commonwealth Games 2022 ticket ballot has now opened with more than a million available with fans and athletes excited at the prospect of being allowed back in to stadiums for the event.

Birmingham is set to become the third English city to host the event, after London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002.

A ticket ballot for local residents was launched in July, with a reported 850,000 applications already made.

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Athletes like Katarina Johnson-Thompson are likely to compete at Birmingham 2022. (Pic: Getty)

What venues are being used for the Games?

ALEXANDER STADIUM - Athletics and Para Athletics

ARENA BIRMINGHAM - Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics

CANNOCK CHASE FOREST - Mountain Biking

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COVENTRY STADIUM & ARENA - Rugby Sevens, Judo and Wrestling

EDGBASTON STADIUM - Cricket T20

LEE VALLEY VELOPARK - Cycling (Track)

THE NEC - Badminton, Boxing, Table Tennis and Para Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Netball and Para Powerlifting

SANDWELL AQUATICS CENTRE - Diving, Swimming and Para Swimming

SMITHFIELD - Basketball 3x3, Beach Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball 3x3

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ST NICHOLAS PARK - Cycling (Road Race)

SUTTON PARK - Triathlon and Para Triathlon

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM SQUASH AND HOCKEY CENTRE - Hockey and Squash

VICTORIA PARK - Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls

WEST PARK - Cycling (Road Race)