Beach volleyball to be played at Smithfield at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
What’s new for the 22nd Commonwealth Games hosted by Birmingham?
Eight para sports have been integrated into the programme to create the biggest para sports offering in Commonwealth Games history. Meanwhile, three new events – women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis - have been added to the initial Games’ programme to bring even more excitement.
Women’s T20 cricket will emulate history at Birmingham 2022 as the first T20 International was played by women and this will also be the first time both the T20 format and the women’s game feature at a Commonwealth Games. All matches will be played at Warwickshire CCC’s Edgbaston home.
Men and women will play beach volleyball at Smithfield in the heart of the city centre, with matches best of three sets on the sand overlooked by the Rotunda as the former Smithfield Market site is transformed into a temporary Games venue.
Para table tennis, as well as table tennis, will be played at the NEC and Singapore will be the nation to beat having won a staggering 50 medals – including 21 gold – since the sport was introduced to the Games.
Brummies to look out for:
Selection for the England team is yet to be confirmed, but there are several Birmingham talents to keep your eyes on for when the squad is revealed.
Among them is Sutton Coldfield gymnast Alice Kinsella who has her eyes on glory in her home city. The 20-year-old won an Olympic bronze medal in the team event at Tokyo 2020 and is the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 European champion on the balance beam.
Alice is from a family of sporting talents as her father Mark played football for the Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa, West Brom and Walsall, for whom Alice’s brother Liam currently turns out.
If England’s much-fancied women’s T20 cricket team are to taste glory, much will depend on the performances of influential wicket-keeper and batter Amy Jones.
Solihull-born and Sutton Coldfield-schooled Amy, who made her England Test debut against Australia in 2019, plays for Warwickshire, Central Sparks and also Birmingham Phoenix in the Women’s Hundred.
The 28-year-old, one of the Faces of 2022, will be desperate to impress in national colours on her home ground of Edgbaston.
She said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for the city – all eyes will be on Birmingham and I’m proud to be from Birmingham and having such a global event coming home.”
Aston-raised Kofi was part of England men’s basketball team at Gold Coast 2018 and will be hoping to impress in his home city four years on.
The 30-year-old, who plays for British Basketball League outfit Plymouth City Patriots and has represented the British national team, is also a former Worcester Wolves star.
Kofi is proud of his roots and said: “Denise Lewis was a great role model for me as not only was she a black athlete but she was also a local black athlete. She made me realise that you could be from the West Midlands, you could be black and you could win and, for me, that was really inspiring.”
More Brummies will be in the spotlight when the England squad is announced.
Where will each sport be played?
The revamped Perry Barr stadium will have an increased capacity of around 30,000 and is the focal point of the Games. It will host athletics and para athletics, as well as the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.
Formerly known as the National Indoor Arena, the city centre site will stage artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. The arena boasts excellent public transport links and is close to other attractions.
Cannock Chase Forest
Mountain bike cycling will be staged at Birches Valley in Rugeley and there will be hard-standing pathways leading to the outdoor ticketed spectator area, which is predominantly grassed. However, the trails on the Chase may become muddy in bad weather and in which case could be unsuitable for those with mobility scooters or limited mobility.
Coventry Stadium and Arena
The fast-paced and exciting rugby sevens will be played in the stadium, which is home of Premiership rugby union side Wasps.
Meanwhile, inside the arena, the competition will be intense as judo and wrestling take centre stage.
The home of the Bears will open its doors for the thrills and spills of big-hitting T20 cricket.
Lee Valley Velopark - London
Fans of track and para track cycling will have to venture to the capital to catch the action, which will be hosted by the velopark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The indoor centre was one of the venues used for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Located off J6 of the M42, the NEC will play a huge role next summer as badminton, boxing, table tennis and para table tennis, weightlifting, netball and para powerlifting are all part of the fun.
Sandwell Aquatics Centre
Take the plunge and apply for diving, swimming and para swimming tickets in the Smethwick pool, which in legacy will become one of the most accessible swimming facilities in the Midlands.
There will be no shortage of drama here as basketball, wheelchair basketball, beach volleyball and the marathon starting line will all be on the itinerary.
St Nicholas Park - Warwick
The cycling road race will speed through the picturesque Warwick park before heading into Warwick town centre, Leamington and then back to Warwick for the final section, which includes a stunning view of Warwick Castle.
The huge park in Sutton Coldfield will bring excitement to the north of the city as the triathlon and para triathlon are staged here.
There will be a men’s women’s and para competition, as well as a mixed relay, as endurance is put to the test in swimming, cycling and running sections.
A purpose-built pontoon in Powell’s Pool will launch the swim, before athletes run from the swim course into transition for the cycling which starts in Sutton Park and then heads to Boldmere High Street, which will be a focal point for spectators.
The competitions then end with the entire running route back in Sutton Park.
University of Birmingham Squash and Hockey Centre
The impressive Edgbaston site will host hockey on the outdoor pitches and squash in the Fitness Centre sports hall.
Victoria Park - Leamington
The atmosphere may not be raucous but, make no mistake, the desire to win will be as strong as ever in Leamington where the lawn bowls and para lawn bowls are staged.
Usually a spot for sightseeing, the square will be a welcome sight for runners who will finish the marathon in the shadow of city centre landmarks.
The men’s and women’s marathon and men’s and women’s T53/T54 events will all be staged on the same course.
Competitors will take in sights including Edgbaston Stadium, Cannon Hill Park, New Street Station, the ICC and St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter as they go in search of honours.
West Park - Wolverhampton
The tensions of the cycling time trial will unfold in the Black Country as cyclists race through Wolverhampton, Sedgley, Dudley and South Staffordshire including powering past Himley Hall before finishing in West Park, which is also the start point.
How to get tickets
Tickets are now on general sale and are available from the Birmingham 2022 website
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