£8m Boost For Birmingham With Athletics Base Camps

18 September 2016, 06:22 | Updated: 18 September 2016, 06:27

Heart's been told hosting athletics teams in Birmingham for next year's World Championships in London could bring an £8 million boost to the city.

Birmingham City Council has spoken to USA Track and Field about bringing their Olympic stars here to train at Alexander Stadium, while the University of Birmingham are in discussions with Team Jamaica about basing their training camp at its Edgbaston campus.

Both teams have confirmed they wish to return to Birmingham and talks with the city council and University of Birmingham will continue to finalise details before agreements are signed.

It could mean that athletes like Usain Bolt could be based here during the championships. 

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "Welcoming USA Track and Field and Team Jamaica ahead of the London Olympic Games in 2012 was a fantastic boost for Birmingham, so it would be great to see them return ahead of next year's IAAF World Championships.

"Both teams are major forces in world athletics, so for them to consider returning after their experience here in 2012 shows that our city has sports facilities that can attract the world's greatest athletes."

Zena Woolridge, Director of Sport at University of Birmingham, added: "As a result of the 2012 Olympics we have built a strong working relationship with Team Jamaica and would be delighted if they were to return to the University in 2017. We are currently in discussions about this and all sides are very keen to make it happen.

"The University has fabulous facilities to offer - athletes would have access to our brand new 360 Sport and Fitness Centre as well as access to our world-leading sports performance experts."

If finalised, these training camps will be hosted in Birmingham just eight months before it stages the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena in March 2018.

This event will see hundreds of the world's best athletes competing for a global title in a venue which is well known for world-class athletics. The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be jointly organised by Birmingham City Council and British Athletics, on behalf of the IAAF.