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Track star Iwan Thomas is wowed by Birmingham's revamped stadium

British athletics legends Iwan Thomas and Marilyn Okoro returned to the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham to get a first glimpse of the stunning, revamped venue.

Iwan Thomas visit the Alexander Stadium on April 21, 2022 in Birmingham, England (Photo by Nathan Stirk - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images).
Iwan Thomas visit the Alexander Stadium on April 21, 2022 in Birmingham, England (Photo by Nathan Stirk - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images).

The venue is preparing to welcome some of the world’s best athletes next month when the Wanda Diamond League returns to the West Midlands.

Thomas, whose 400 metre British record set at the stadium 25 years ago still stands today. and Okoro, who won British Championship titles at the venue during a glittering career, were given a tour of the facility which will also host the athletics programme at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The Muller Birmingham Diamond League event, on Saturday, May 21, will be the first time that fans and athletes alike will get to experience the new venue and will kick-off a huge summer of sport in the Midlands.

Fans will get the chance to see come of the world’s best battle it out on the new track next month with sprinters Yohan Blake and current 200m gold medallist Andree De Grasse already confirmed alongside British star Dina Asher-Smith. Further British interest for the home crowd will come from Keely Hodgkinson, Holly Bradshaw and Joss Kerr, with even more big names are set to be announced in the coming days.

The event last took place in Birmingham in 2019 but the Alexander Stadium has since been transformed as part of a £72 million redevelopment programme including a new West stand, ninr-lane running track and warm up track. The stadium will host the second event of the prestigious Wanda Diamond League calendar for 2022 which kicks-off in Doha on May 13.

Thomas, clocked 44.36 seconds for the 400m at the stadium back in 1997 at the British Championships with a field that included Mark Richardson, Roger Black and Jamie Baulch. The quartet famously won Olympic silver a year earlier in the 4x400 relay at the Atlanta Games.

Visiting the revamped venue for the first time, Thomas said: “I loved competing here and in Birmingham.

“I live at the other end of the country, but it’s always felt like the home of athletics for me so to see the new stadium in the flesh for the first time is amazing.

“The track and the facilities are world class and I think it’s going to be a very special place for the current and future generations of athletes. The city and the region should be really proud of it.

“As the first big event at the new stadium, The Muller Birmingham Diamond League here is going to be massive and the athletes are going to love competing here and in front of a big Birmingham crowd.”

Okoro, now a UK Athletics board member after retiring at the start of 2021 added: “The athletes are going to love performing here and the fans will have a phenomenal view wherever they sit.

“The only thing regret is retiring a little too early!

“I’d encourage people to grab their tickets and get involved because there’s going to be some incredible athletes on show in amazing new stadium. We need to make it the home of athletics.”

n Tickets for event on Saturday May 21st are available now via

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