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Birmingham 2022 ‘set benchmark’ for Commonwealth sport, says CGF

The Commonwealth Games Federation believes Birmingham 2022 “set a new benchmark” for Commonwealth sport as the English city’s hosting of the Games concluded yesterday (Monday).

More than 1.5 million fans attended events across the region during the 11 days of competition, with the 30,000-seat Alexander Stadium packed out for 12 consecutive athletics sessions.

The CGF hailed the “history-making” Games as the first major multi-sport event to be played in front of packed stadia and arenas since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s summer Olympics in Tokyo were held without fans, while only a small number of spectators attended events at the winter Games in Beijing in February.

According to the CGF, 40,000 jobs and volunteering opportunities have been created by the Games, with £38m (€45m/$46m) having been invested to get people more physically active. A further £21m of government investment will look to cement the profile of the city and region as a destination of choice.

Alexander Stadium underwent a £72m revamp to make the venue Games-ready, with its permanent capacity increasing from 12,700 to 18,000. Temporary seating meant that the stadium could host up to 30,000 spectators during the Games.

The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the Games, as well as all athletics and para-athletics events. Following the conclusion of the Games, the stadium’s temporary overlay will be removed to leave a legacy facility that will serve as a focal point for sport, health, wellbeing and community activity in the local area.

CGF president Dame Louise Martin said: “We are emerging from one of the most challenging periods in modern history, where the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us apart. Birmingham 2022 proved to be a special moment when we reunited, when the power of sport to connect us came into sharp focus.

“Not only have we witnessed some iconic sporting moments, we’ve also enjoyed the warmest of welcomes from the people of Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond who have made the Games so much more than just a sporting competition.

“Birmingham has put on a Commonwealth Games unlike any we’ve seen before. The passionate support across all 19 sports created an atmosphere which spurred our Commonwealth athletes onto new heights. Thank you to Birmingham for everything you have done to welcome the Commonwealth with pride, humanity and open arms. What a bold, buzzing and brilliant city.”

Birmingham 2022 was the first edition of the Commonwealth Games to award more medals to women than men, with the event also featuring the largest ever integrated programme of para sport.

Forty-three nations and territories won medals at the Games, equalling the record set four years ago in Gold Coast, Australia. Niue won its first-ever medal at the Games as boxer Duken Tutakitoa-Williams claimed bronze in the men’s heavyweight division.