Stars of screen and sport back the bid

Published: Wednesday, 23rd August 2017

Hollywood stars Julie Walters and David Harewood are joining with over 60 top sports stars to back Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Multi-BAFTA Award winning actress, Dame Julie Walters, DBE, was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham and raised in Smethwick. The two-time Academy Award nominee, star of multiple big screen films including Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia! and Harry Potter as well as her much loved TV collaborations with the late Victoria Wood, is backing Birmingham’s bid:

“Birmingham is a brilliant city, full of energy and lively people. It’s well known across the world both for sport and culture and it would be my city of choice to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”

Born in Small Heath, Birmingham, David Harewood, MBE, star of Homeland and The Night Manager, as well as Hollywood movies including multi-Academy Award winning Blood Diamond, was one of the earliest supporters of the Birmingham bid:

“I support Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. What a diverse, beautiful, fantastic city, this will be the hub of energy here in the Midlands. We are the youngest city in Europe and it would be fantastic for the world to come to Birmingham and see what a great and vibrant place it is. So support Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games”.

Sports stars from all Commonwealth Games sports back Birmingham’s bid

Sports stars from across seventeen sports, including all Commonwealth Games sports announced as part of Birmingham’s bid, have also thrown their weight behind the city’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

The Birmingham 2022 bid team recently submitted its secondary phase Bid City application to Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit. Since the bidding process began, both national and international sports personalities have been coming forward to back Birmingham’s bid. International sports icons including: Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Christine Ohuruogu, Adam Peaty, Ellie Simmonds, Don Quarrie, Ian Bell, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, Chrissie Wellington and Hakeen “The Dream” Olajuwon are among the athletes who are supporting Birmingham.

With just weeks to go before the decision is made as to whether an English Bid will be submitted, and if so, who will become the UK’s Candidate City, the stars are urging the selectors to pick the city that delivers for all sports and they are urging the public to show their support too.


Ellie Simmonds OBE, five-time Paralympic Champion, swimming:

“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will inspire the next generation of swimmers as well as encourage the local community to enjoy swimming and diving and learn a valuable life skill.

“I am so excited about the possibility of the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham and urge everyone to back the Birmingham Bid.”


Sir Mo Farah CBE, Britain’s most successful track athlete:

“It would be amazing to have the Games here. I know they had the World Indoors, the European Indoors, we had the World Half Marathon here in Birmingham, so they do know how to put events together and I hope it comes here. I love the crowd and I remember competing here as a youngster.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, 11 x Paralympic Champion and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords:

“I think the Commonwealth Games should come to Birmingham. I trained for Sydney in Birmingham and it’s a really good city that’s passionate about sport. It has a lot of great facilities already so you wouldn’t have to build from scratch. And if it’s good enough for Usain Bolt…”


Fontaine Chapman, Badminton Singles, England No 1 and 2016 National Champion:

“We all believe that now is Birmingham’s time to shine. We have the venues, we have the talent and we want the Games here in 2022 because we know the positive impact they will have on our region and we know that we will deliver the best Commonwealth Games ever.”


Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon, Olympic Gold medallist for Team USA, and one of the greatest NBA players in basketball history:

“The inclusion of 3×3 basketball at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games would provide a huge inspiration for the next generation of players.

“Basketball promotes courage, teamwork and how to succeed which are great values for youngsters to learn, whatever their background. I’m supporting Birmingham 2022 and hope they bring the Games to this great city.”


Kal Yafai, super-flyweight boxing World Champion from Birmingham:

“We have shown what our city has to offer including a diverse and energetic culture and fantastic sporting venues, in fact it was down the road at the Barclaycard arena I retained my world title! I’m so proud to be a Brummie and think we’ve proved why we should be hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022!”


Helen Scott, MBE, Paralympic Champion and double Commonwealth Games Champion, Para Cycling (pilot):

“… We have iconic venues around us which showcase the city’s accessibility, inclusivity and diversity and youth. Having competed at the Commonwealth Games I know what is required of a host city and I think Birmingham has proved they are more than capable today.”


Kristian Thomas, Olympic Bronze Medallist and Commonwealth Champion:

“It’s great to see so many young gymnasts and members of the public down here today backing Birmingham’s Bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2022. I am definitely behind the bid and hope it comes here, it’s such a great city.”


Lily Owsley MBE, Olympic Champion from Rio 2016, Hockey:

A home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 will certainly be an incentive for me to continue playing to make the England team for 2022, and play on home ground here on campus. I’m sure it will also inspire many other young players to live their dream of playing for England in a major Games on home turf.”


Sian Bobrowska, Commonwealth Youth Games Gold Medallist, Judo:

"It was a real honour to represent team England in the Bahamas, I was very proud to get a Gold medal, it certainly would be amazing to represent them again at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as it's very close to my home town."

Lawn Bowls:

Bob Love, Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, Para Lawn Bowls:

“As a Birmingham lad born and bred, I am one hundred percent behind the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games bid and would love to compete here, in front of my home crowd.

“Victoria Park is the best Lawn Bowls venue in the country and would put on the most inclusive and accessible Para Lawn Bowls competition ever. I cannot wait to be part of it and urge everyone to get behind the bid.”


Tamsin Greenway, Wasps’ Director of Netball and Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist

“Having won bronze medals at two Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Delhi I cannot begin to describe my excitement at the thought of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Netball matches being played here at the Ericsson Indoor Arena.

“We have seen a huge increase in the sport since we started Wasps Netball earlier this year and I know that the West Midlands would put on the most fantastic Commonwealth Games ever.”

Rugby 7s:

James Rodwell, Olympic Silver Medallist, Rugby 7s

“Rugby 7s is one of the most popular events at the Commonwealth Games. The atmosphere is electric and the fans get passionately involved so, as a player, it is an amazing experience to be part of. I have great memories of competing at the Commonwealth Games and would love to be representing England at Villa Park in 2022. Rugby fans who watched the Rugby World Cup fixtures at Villa Park will agree it was sensational. Let’s back Birmingham 2022 so we can recreate that again.”


Sarah-Jane Perry, World No. 7, Squash:

“It would be amazing to have the Commonwealth Games in my home city at the peak of my career. Birmingham has so much to offer in term of venues, history and culture, I have no doubt it would be an overwhelming success. Let's go Brum!”

Table Tennis:

Kelly Sibley, Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, Table Tennis:

“I'm backing the bid for Birmingham to host the 2022 Commonwealth. What a great opportunity for the city to showcase what it has got to offer. Nothing beats a home games!”


Chrissie Wellington, 4 x Ironman World Champion, Triathlon

“I am so supportive of Birmingham’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games. It would be absolutely fantastic for the University, for the whole City and indeed the whole country, if it was to be hosted here. Having the sports centre and having this state of the art facility will only help us to win the bid and I put my name wholeheartedly behind that and will do whatever I can to support the City and its bid to host the Games.”


On Twitter, Emily Godley, British National Champion and Commonwealth Games 5th place, Weightlifting, said:

“Exciting, this would be an amazing venue to compete at! Supporting the #brumbid2022”


Trevor Hoskins, Midlands Regional Head Coach and GBR veterans squad

"Having been involved with Team England Wrestling at the Glasgow Games I was able to see first hand what a home Games means for our sport, as well as the buzz created in the area in which the Games are held."

Backing #BrumBid2022

How you can support Birmingham 2022:

  • Follow us on Twitter (@birminghamcg22)
  • Like us on Facebook (Birmingham2022)
  • Join in the conversation (#BrumBid2022)
  • Visit the website (

About the Birmingham 2022 Bid

Sitting at the heart of the UK, and standing for the diversity of the Commonwealth, Birmingham is well positioned to attract people to the Games and to ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and the region, to the UK, to the Commonwealth. The advancement of the UK’s global role and the Commonwealth movement is integral to our vision of Birmingham: heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth.

The list of sports below showcases all those we have announced publicly so far:



Athletics, incl Para

Alexander Stadium

Aquatics, incl Para and Diving

New Sandwell Aquatics Centre


Genting Arena

Basketball (3x3), incl Para

Victoria Square


NEC Hall 1

Gymnastics (Artistic and Rhythmic)

Barclaycard Arena


University of Birmingham


NEC Hall 4

Lawn Bowls, incl Para

Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa


Ericsson Indoor Arena, at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Rugby 7s

Villa Park Stadium


University of Birmingham

Table Tennis, incl Para

NEC Hall 5

Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting

Symphony Hall

Wrestling (freestyle)

NEC Hall 4

Birmingham’s bid has the full support of the wider Midlands region, including: Birmingham City Council; three regional local enterprise partnerships: Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP; Black Country LEP; Coventry and Warwickshire LEP; the West Midlands Combined Authority and the newly elected Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street; the West Midlands Growth Company; and the Midlands Engine. In addition, Birmingham’s bid is supported by The Birmingham Commonwealth Association.

A list of sports and the athletes who have backed Birmingham’s Bid* is included below.

*Backing the bid may be through being Birmingham 2022 ambassadors at events, providing supportive quotes, responding positively to Birmingham’s bid in media activity, posing for #BrumBid2022 selfie board photos and/ or positive support through social media.

Sports and athletes backing Birmingham's bid:


  • Kare Adenegan, T34 wheelchair athlete, 3x Paralympic Medallist and 5x World medallist
  • Dina Asher-Smith, British 200m athlete
  • Meghan Beesley, British 400m Hurdler
  • Yohan Blake, double Olympic Champion
  • Holly Bradshaw, British Pole Vault record holder
  • Usain Bolt, eight time Olympic Champion
  • Nathan Douglas, double Commonwealth Medallist
  • Shadine Duqemin, Shot Putt athlete
  • Joe Dunderdale, 2017 British Javelin Champion
  • Jarryd Dunn, British 400m athlete
  • Hannah England, World Championships 1500m Silver Medallist
  • Mark Lewis-Francis, 4x 100m Relay Olympic Gold Medallist, Athens 2004
  • Brendan Foster CBE, Former British long distance runner, founded Great North Run
  • Adam Gemili, current IAAF 4x100m Relay World Champion and Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist
  • Robbie Grabarz, High Jump, London 2012 Olympic Bronze Medallist
  • Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Paralympian, former wheelchair racer
  • Colin Jackson, 2x 110m hurdles World Champion
  • Sarah McDonald, 2x 1500m European finalist
  • Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, current IAAF 4x100m Relay World Champion
  • Dawn Harper-Nelson, Olympic Gold medal-winning Hurdler, Team USA
  • Christine Ohuruogu MBE, former 400m Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champion
  • Heather Paton, sprint hurdler for Birchfield Harriers
  • Jake Porter, sprint hurdler for Birchfield Harriers
  • Don Quarrie, 1976 Olympic 200m Champion, Jamaica
  • Laura Samuel, Commonwealth Games Triple Jump Silver Medallist, Glasgow 2014
  • Perri Shakes-Drayton, British 40om and 400m Hurdles athlete
  • Kelly Sotherton, 3x Olympic Bronze Medallist
  • Danny Talbot, current IAAF 4x100m Relay World Champion
  • Iwan Thomas MBE, Olympic silver medallist 4 x 400m, former Commonwealth Games and European Champion
  • CJ Ujah, current IAAF 4x100m Relay World Champion

Aquatics, incl Para and Diving


Basketball (3x3), incl Para


  • Adam Peaty MBE, 100m breaststroke 2016 Olympic Champion
  • Ellie Simmonds, 5x Paralympic Champion


  • Fontaine Chapman, England’s No. 1 badminton singles player
  • Myles Hesson, GB Basketball player
  • Hakeem Olajuwon, Olympic Gold Medallist for Team USA


  • Ellen Falkner, three-time Commonwealth Games Champion, Lawn Bowls
  • Bob Love, Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, Para Lawn Bowls



Gymnastics (Artistic and Rhythmic)


  • Aaron Bowen, 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games Gold Medallist,
  • Elise Glynn, 2017 European Women’s Junior Champion
  • Charlie Williams, professional boxer
  • Galal Yafai, 2016 European Silver Medallist
  • Gamal Yafai, current Commonwealth & WBC International Champion
  • Kal Yafai, WBA Super-flyweight world champion
  • Dan Bigham, 3x National Champion
  • Helen Scott, MBE,  Paralympic Champion and double Commonwealth Games Champion, Para Track Cycling (pilot)


  • Mimi Cesar, Competed for England in 2014 Commonwealth Games
  • Gabby Logan, Sports pundit and ex international gymnast
  • Kristian Thomas, Olympic Bronze Medallist and Commonwealth Champion


  • Lily Owsley MBE, Rio 2016 Olympic Champion




Rugby 7s


  • Neil Adams MBE, Olympic Silver Medallist, World Champion and 5x European Champion
  • Sian Bobrowska, 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games Gold medallist
  • Kelly Edwards, 2014 Commonwealth Games Silver medallist
  • Tamsin Greenway, Wasps’ Director of Netball and Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist
  • Monique Wood, local netball player, competed locally and regionally
  • Tom Fawcett, 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games Silver Medallist
  • James Rodwell, England’s most capped player. 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist


  • Sarah-Jane Perry, World No 7
  • Zena Wooldridge, President of the European Squash Federation


Table Tennis, incl Para


Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting

Wrestling (freestyle)

  • Kelly Sibley, Olympian, four-time English national singles champion and five-time winner of the doubles title. She competed in London 2012
  • Christine Bertram, Triathlete and Duathlete
  • Helen Russell,  British Quadrathlon Champion
  • Jodie Stimpson, Triathlete, runner up  2013 ITU World Triathlon Series
  • Chrissie Wellington OBE, 4x Ironman World Champion
  • Emily Godley, British National Champion and Commonwealth Games 2014 5th place
  • Trevor Hoskins, Midlands Regional Head Coach and GBR veterans squad



  • James Chester, Aston Villa and Wales player
  • Daniel Chisanga, Baton Bearer during Queen’s Baton Relay, local footballer
  • Gary Gardner, Aston Villa Player
  • Conor Hourihane, Aston Villa player
  • Same Johnstone, Aston Villa Player
  • Ian Bell MBE, Warwickshire CC, Birmingham Bears and former England international


rating button