US athletics stars take part in city Sports Festival

Published: Monday, 31st July 2017

To coincide with USA Track and Field’s training camp in Birmingham, a community sports festival took place in the city’s Perry Park.

The sports festival was organised by Birmingham City Council, to give young people from across the city a chance to take part in a multitude of sporting challenges, in the shadows of the Alexander Stadium, where a selection of World and Olympic medallists are currently based. And following their morning training session on Friday 29 July, some of the athletes visited the sports festival to offer words of encouragement to the youngsters and to participate in some of the challenges.

Around 150 young people aged between 10 and 16 from Perry Barr, Ladywood, Small Heath and Sparkhill took part in the Sports Festival, which was comprised of ten different sporting challenges, including athletics, tennis, rugby, netball, boxing and martial arts.

Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “Training camps provide a valuable economic impact for the city but I’m also delighted that young people from across Birmingham have had the opportunity to meet some of these global athletics stars at the sports festival. I hope this opportunity has inspired them to lead active lives and to fulfil their sporting potential.”

Representatives from USATF and the Jamaican athletics team, who are currently based at the University of Birmingham, also attended a civic service at Birmingham Cathedral on Saturday, which was organised to wish both teams well before they headed south for the start of the IAAF World Championships on Friday 4 August.

The camp has been organised by Birmingham City Council’s sports events team and training facilities have been provided at the Alexander Stadium, the neighbouring indoor High Performance Centre and in Sutton Park, plus all of the team’s accommodation and transportation needs have been carefully co-ordinated.

This year’s camp follows on from the city’s successful hosting of a similar camp for the American team in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Background information:

  • More than 150 athletes, officials and staff representing USA Track & Field (USATF) are staying in Birmingham, ahead of the IAAF World Championships, with the city hosting the official training and preparation camp for the team, which includes eight individual gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games and four defending World Champions.
  • The community sports festival was part funded by Tesco Bags of Help. Since launching in 2015, bags of Help has awarded more than £28.5 million across more than 4,000 local projects.
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