Dame Louise Martin: “Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be a Games for everyone”
I am thrilled that today marks the two years to go milestone to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
It feels like only yesterday, at Arena Academy in Birmingham, that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) awarded the city the right to stage the XXII edition of the Games. In reality, that decision was announced in December 2017 and since that special moment, the West Midlands have made excellent progress towards staging what will be an exciting competition for athletes, fans and spectators across the Commonwealth.
There is of course some sadness at the situation we find ourselves in at present, due to the ongoing impact caused by the COVID-19. Today, many of our Commonwealth stars should have been competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, showcasing the very best that sport has to offer. Unfortunately, they will need to wait until next year for that wonderful moment in Japan.
What has struck me most during this difficult period is how impactful major multi-sport events like the Commonwealth Games, with its shared values and history, are to us all. In a period where many of the things that we hold dear have been denied to us, it feels like Birmingham 2022 has now taken on even more importance. An innovative and pragmatic approach has now been taken to overcome every challenge that is faced. This approach will ensure a memorable Games.
There are so many elements of the 2022 Commonwealth Games that I am proud of:
• Birmingham 2022 will be the first ever major multi-sport event in history to have more women’s medal events than men’s.
• There will also be the largest Para sports programme in our Games, with eight sports being held.
Birmingham is one of the most culturally diverse areas of the UK, home to 187 nationalities and where over 100 languages are spoken, so Birmingham 2022 really will be a home Games for every nation in a truly Commonwealth City.
Through our shared history, this amazing platform will allow the Commonwealth Sport Movement to use the transformational power of sport as a force for social change. We firmly believe in the power of sport to change a life and the power of communities to change the world.
My message to all our Commonwealth Sport athletes is that I want you to start thinking, start training, start believing and preparing to compete at the Games in Birmingham!
I know how difficult it is to continue training and staying focused during a period of such uncertainty, but you should all be reassured we are working tirelessly to create a safe and inspiring environment for you to perform to the best of your abilities in 2022.
We should now be looking ahead with hope. There is something so special when our 72 nations and territories come together to compete at one place in friendship, coming from different territories and backgrounds, that diversity is our strength!
Led by our Athletes’ Advisory Commission, we are actively looking to support Commonwealth athletes to fulfil their role as inspiring leaders, agents of change, advocates for integrity and ambassadors for respect, impartiality and non-discrimination.
It is our passionate belief that athlete advocacy and activism humanises, rather than politicises, sport. We believe the Commonwealth Sport Movement must use our voices and continually seek to reduce inequalities and build peaceful communities.
This is what makes the Commonwealth Games so special and an event where everyone is welcome.
Happy two years to go and we can’t wait to see you in two years’ time.
Dame Louise Martin DBE is the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation