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Black Country could play greater role in 2022 Commonwealth Games

By Richard Guttridge | News | Published:

The Black Country could play a greater role in the 2022 Commonwealth Games than initially thought if Birmingham's bid to host the competition is successful, it has been revealed.

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Officials behind the Birmingham bid have insisted they remain confident of winning the Games despite concerns having been raised about its package.

And Birmingham City Council's interim chief executive Stella Manzie did not rule out the prospect of the Black Country becoming more involved in the competition when pressed on the subject at a meeting of the region's Local Enterprise Partnership.

She was asked by her counterpart in Walsall, Helen Paterson, about the prospect of the town hosting judo as it is home to the sport's centre of excellence.

Ms Manzie also raised the possibility of some athletes being based in the Black Country as well as the launch of fan zones.

But she added the region's main involvement was likely to be swimming and diving, with a multi-million aquatics centre lined up for Smethwick in the event of the bid being successful.

Cycling is also due to be held on Cannock Chase.

Ms Manzie said: "The big gain in the Black Country will be in relation to the aqua centre.

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"We are getting all the information about all the links across the Black Country either with different sports or centres and looking at what type of facilities we have got.

She told Ms Paterson: "You have mentioned the judo and we will do our best on that.

"We hope very much hope the Black Country, both in terms of business and the wider region, will be closely involved in this.

Ms Manzie admitted there were still some 'issues' over funding for the bid which must be submitted by November 30.

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She also suggested rival bids could also come in, from either Malaysia or Australia, making the path towards becoming host city trickier.

Officials were dealt a major blow last month when Commonwealth Games bosses decided to extend the bidding process, with Birmingham's the only proposal on the table.

Ms Manzie said: "As things currently stand we have been assembling funding to go into the bid. There are still some issues around that but they are in hand.

She added: "The feeling is we are the most developed bid. It is not clear if other bids are in play from Kuala Lumpur or any kind of bid in relation to Australia.

"It will only become clear after we have submitted our bid."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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