Birmingham schools urged to grab Olympic chance

By on 09/03/2012 in News

With many of the world fastest athletes heading to Birmingham this summer, schoolchildren across the city are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what makes an Olympic champion tick.

Birmingham plays host to training camps for both the USA and Jamaica in the build-up to the London Games.

That means a number of gold medal hopefuls, including the likes of Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown, will be fine-tuning their Olympic preparations here in Birmingham.

And schools are being offered the chance to attend training sessions at the Alexander Stadium and the University of Birmingham.

Every single school in Birmingham can nominate 15 pupils and two members of staff to attend an open training session for USA Track and Field.

The USA sessions will be held on:

  • Wednesday 18 July
  • Thursday 19 July

Pupils will also participate in a sports festival at Perry Park, enjoying a number of activities including athletics and football before heading over to the newly refurbished Alexander Stadium to see the Americans prepare for London.

Places at training sessions for the Jamaican team will be more limited. The University and Birmingham City Council will open an application process for University of Birmingham partner schools and city schools with a strong link to Jamaica to attend an open training session on the afternoon of 18 July.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Mike Whitby, said: “I've said all along that attracting two such high profile training camps to the city was about bringing the Olympic Games to Birmingham.

“Now thousands of young people from schools across the city will get to see some of the finest athletes in the world as they fine-tune their preparations for London. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I'm sure will inspire our young people.”

University Director of Sport, Zena Wooldridge, added:  “It's really exciting to be able to offer the opportunity for young people to touch base with the Jamaican track and field team here in Birmingham, and what better way to get in the spirit of London 2012 to watch the team train at the University of Birmingham.

“As you can imagine, there is huge interest in the Jamaican team. We need to remember they are here to focus on their final training and preparation for the Olympics, so, unfortunately we're just not able to accommodate everyone for the public session. However, we are working with Birmingham City Council to ensure as many schools and local athletics clubs can take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Birmingham City Council officials have now written to headteachers across the city, inviting them to register interest in the open sessions and schools must register by March 30.

Registrations open on March 9.


For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

Notes to editors

  • The USA training sessions will be open for viewing on Wednesday 18 & Thursday 19 July 2012.
  • Every Birmingham school will be able to send 15 children and 2 staff members to the USA Training sessions at Alexander Stadium.
  • The open training sessions will be incorporated in to a Sports Participation festival for the children to take part in, in Perry Park.  This will include sports such as football, athletics and BMX.
  • Schools who are interested can apply at there will be morning or afternoon sessions available over the 2 days.
  • The closing date for applications is Friday 30 March 2012.
  • Numbers have to be limited due to the wishes of the USA team - they are here first and foremost to prepare for the Olympics.
  • For adults and those not connected to a school there is still an opportunity to be involved in the training camps by volunteering.  There are plenty of roles available and those interested should visit
  • There will also be an open day for athletics clubs in the city to watch the athletes train and this will be co-ordinated through the Birmingham Athletics Network.
  • Opportunities to watch the Jamaican team will be a bit more limited but schools who are interested should also visit
  • The Jamaican open training session will be on Wednesday 18 July.  This will be taking place at the University of Birmingham
  • The closing date for applications is also Friday 30 March 2012

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