By: Gyang Dakwo
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Katie Sadleir has claimed the organization of Birmingham 2022 has gone “well above expectations”.
The English city is staging the Games for the first time after being given just over four years to prepare for the major multi-sport event, after replacing Durban in South Africa, which had been scheduled to host.
Sadleir praised the way organizers had dealt with issues caused by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic to put on the Games as well as recent rail strikes and a heatwave that threatened to bring further problems.
“We’ve had the pandemic, Brexit, strikes, and heatwaves.
“There have been so many things that were challenges for this Organising Committee.
“But they rose above them.
“I meet daily with the Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid, to see how things are tracking and it’s gone exceptionally well, well above expectations.
“It is a relief to have fans back and it means so much to athletes,” said Sadleir, a former synchronized swimmer who claimed solo bronze at Edinburgh in 1986.
“The weather is good, people are smiling and I am really pleased with what I have seen so far,” she said.
Unlike previous Games, athletes are being housed at three sites after plans for an Athletes’ Village in Perry Barr were scrapped due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new model is set to be used when Victoria in Australia stages the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Sadleir said the multi-site approach created both “challenges and opportunities” as athletes and officials adapt to the changes.
“Debriefing what has worked really well is going to be imperative to how we make sure the new model for 2026 is a success,” added Sadleir.
“When I think about where we go with this, it means that you need more leadership positions in your team so that you need leaders that are responsible for the various sites.
“That creates the opportunity to elevate skill development and team management.
“I have not heard directly from teams that there are any significant problems with it.
“I think most teams and athletes are incredibly grateful that they are at the Games which may not have happened given the challenges that faced the Organising Committee.”