Birmingham 2022 unveils beach volleyball venue
28th July 2020
Organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have revealed that a bespoke arena will be built in Smithfield to stage beach volleyball in two years' time.
Smithfield, previously the site of Birmingham’s Wholesale Markets, is located at the heart of the city centre and will be a crucial venue for the host city as it will also host 3v3 basketball and 3v3 wheelchair basketball.
The news was made public as the two-year countdown to Birmingham 2022, the biggest sports event to be held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympics, begins.
Temporary courts for beach volleyball and 3v3 basketball have been set up at the site today as part of the two years to go celebrations, giving current and future sporting stars the first chance to try out the location and to provide a flavour of the sporting action that spectators can expect in 2022.
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, said: "2022 will be a fantastic year of celebration for the UK, with a number of major events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Festival 2022.
“With two years to go until Birmingham 2022, we've reached another major milestone. The site at Smithfield will be right at the heart of that, acting as a powerful focal point in making this a Games for everyone and helping to create a real buzz in the heart of the city.”
Ian Reid, Chief Executive Officer for Birmingham 2022, added: “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.”
Beach volleyball will be making its second appearance at a Commonwealth Games after the sport was added to the Birmingham 2022 programme last summer.
The Smithfield site, at the heart of the landlocked city of Birmingham, will provide an interesting contrast to the sport’s first Commonwealth Games appearance on Australia’s Gold Coast. However, organisers revealed that its popularity with a younger audience was one of the main reasons for choosing to add the sport, identifying this as a good fit for a city that is one of the youngest in Europe, with 60% of its residents aged 30 or under.
Sue Storey, Chief Executive of Volleyball England, said: "After so much hard work, it's fantastic to be able to reveal the beach volleyball tournament will be held at Smithfield. Beach volleyball is a fast-paced game of athleticism, teamwork and tactics and I know it will be a highlight of the Commonwealth Games in two years' time.
"Our hard work will continue as we capitalise on this huge opportunity to enhance the sport’s profile and inspire future generations to pick up a volleyball.
"With an impressive group of rising stars, I'm also excited about what we can achieve in 2022. England came so close to a medal at the 2018 Games and we'll be doing everything we can to reach the podium on home soil this time around."
Paul Blanchard, Commonwealth Games England CEO, added: “The two years to go landmark is something that Team England as the home nation of Birmingham 2022 is thrilled to embrace. These home games which are right on our doorstep will give our fans the opportunity to support our English athletes and give them the best chance to succeed. Beach Volleyball has always been a key part of the sporting programme for Team England and we enjoyed working closely with Volleyball England to great success on and off the court at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.”
To find out more information about Birmingham 2022, head to www.birmingham2022.com.