Sandwell leisure boss hopes for lasting legacy from key Commonwealth Games role

A council leader for leisure in Sandwell is full of hope there will be long-term benefits to the borough from hosting key parts of the Commonwealth Games.

The centre was a featured part of the Games, providing 11 days of swimming and diving action. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.
The centre was a featured part of the Games, providing 11 days of swimming and diving action. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

The borough played a full and active part in the Commonwealth Games, first by hosting a full day of the Queen's Baton Relay on Monday, July 25.

It then provided one of the showpiece venues for the Games, hosting 11 days of swimming and diving competitions and seeing 64 gold medals awarded from within the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

Councillor Laura Rollins, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said the borough had been privileged to play such an active part in the relay and in the Games.

Adam Peaty was one of many swimmers to enjoy success at the Aquatics centre. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

She said: "Sandwell was one of only a few areas in the country to have the privilege of hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay for a whole day.

"Thousands of people came to our events and lined streets along the route across our six towns to cheer on our inspirational baton-bearers.

"It was a real celebration of community and the positive contributions of so many people in Sandwell.

“We have seen packed audiences at Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

"People from around the world, including many spectators from here in Sandwell, have clapped, cheered and roared, showing their approval and appreciation of the athletes and the facilities at the centre.

“This success is testament to the hard work and dedication of the organisers of the Games, our officers, our partners, and the thousands of volunteers who welcomed the crowds to the ‘friendly Games’.

“We have also cheered on home-grown sporting starts from Sandwell to success in a number of competitions during the Games."

Amy Rollinson competes in the 1m Springboard competition during the Games. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Councillor Rollins also spoke about the future, saying that the benefit of the Games to Sandwell was only just beginning.

She said: "Sandwell Aquatics Centre is a community leisure facility that has been adapted for use at the Commonwealth Games, rather than the other way round.

"It means the whole community in Sandwell and beyond will benefit from the world-class swimming and diving facilities at this fantastic new sporting venue.

"More than that, the new Aquatics Centre is supporting our vision to boost the health and wellbeing of our communities, driving economic growth and regeneration, improving transport links, and inspiring a generation of youngsters.

"What a great legacy from Birmingham 2022.”

Thousands of people attended the Aquatics centre during the Games: Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Sandwell Aquatics Centre will officially open to the public in spring 2023.

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