Sunday, April 21, 2024

Investment in new indoor athletics track strengthens city’s reputation

A new athletics track for Utilita Arena Birmingham, purchased by Birmingham City Council, is set to host its first event this weekend in the shape of the UK Athletics Indoor Championships.

The track replaces the original, used at the city centre venue since its opening in 1991 – with the £1.7million investment acting as a catalyst for the council to secure a ten-year event partnership with UK Athletics, which underlines Birmingham’s status as the home of indoor athletics.

Under the terms of the deal, the city will be host to both the UK Athletics Indoor Championships and Indoor Grand Prix events annually until February 2032.

At this weekend’s first event (February 18-19), athletes will be competing for GB & NI team places for the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul (March 2-5).

And just a week later, the Birmingham Indoor World Tour Final 2023 (aka Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham) – featuring some of the best athletes in the world – will be staged on February 25.

In addition, a programme of community activity is also being developed to ensure the use of the asset is maximised during the times it is in situ at Utilita Arena Birmingham.
For 2023, the programme includes a day for Birmingham Children’s Trust and Sport Birmingham, during which children, families and carers will take part in a range of sporting taster sessions on the track.

The council has also worked Birchfield Harriers to enable members of the athletics club use the facilities for training sessions, without which they would have to travel 70 miles to use a banked track. Club officials say this arrangement will provide a sustainable platform and help grow back the talent base that is undoubtedly out there waiting to be uncovered locally.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This investment in a new track underlines our commitment to major events in Birmingham as part of the city’s Golden Decade of opportunity.”

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