City track gets makeover ahead of 2018 event

By on 07/02/2017 in Deputy Leader, News

To ensure that athletes at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, have the best possible surface to compete on, the entire infield of Birmingham’s indoor track, including the 60m sprint straight and the run ups for field events, is being replaced.

Work started on this track refurbishment, which also includes some upgrading work to the 200m track, last week and is due to be finished on Wednesday 7 February. The first use of the track will be at the Athletics Direct Midland Championships on 11 and 12 February, which will be closely followed by the Müller Indoor Grand Prix, which takes place at Arena Birmingham* on 18 February.

Commonwealth high jump silver medallist, Isobel Pooley, was at the arena today, to take a look at the refurbishment work and to announce that the high jumpers will be the first athletes competing in the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 to use the brand new Mondo surface, as a new Thursday evening session (1 March 2018) has now been added to the proposed timetable for this global event.

Isobel Pooley, said: “High jump is an extremely exciting event which often produces closely fought contests and I know that all of the competitors will want to provide the best possible start to the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

“It’s also great news that the athletes competing at the Championships will do so on a brand new Mondo surface, which could help the high jumpers soar to greater heights.”

Adding this special high jump session to the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 timetable, means that the Championships will now become a four day event, taking place at Arena Birmingham from 1 to 4 March.

Championships Director, Joan Durose, explains the thinking behind putting the high jump firmly in the spotlight: “The high jump competitors always provide a spectacular display so what better way to start the Championships. It is also an event where Britain has strength in depth and both the men’s and women’s contests often produced fierce competitions – we’ve witnessed some excellent high jump performances right here in Birmingham.”

“We plan to combine the athletics action on the Thursday night with the official opening of the Championships, when we will welcome the IAAF and all of the competing nations to the city.”

The last significant refurbishment of the track took place in 2006, when a grant was provided by Advantage West Midlands, who were the regional development agency at the time. As part of the grant conditions, money was set aside for the ongoing maintenance and refurbishment of the track. The current refurbishment of the infield is costing £135k.

Steve Hollingworth, Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the event, said: “We are refurbishing the infield as we wanted to ensure that the track is in the best possible condition ahead of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, an event which we are extremely proud to be hosting in March next year. However, this track isn’t just for the world-class athletes who are regular visitors to the arena, it is also used by club athletes from across the region, so we are pleased that they will also have the best possible surface to compete on.”

Next year’s World Championships, will see around 400 athletes from about 150 countries competing at the Arena in Birmingham, which also played host to the same event in 2003. Managing Director of NEC Group Arenas Phil Mead said: “It’s with great pleasure that we welcome back the IAAF World Indoor Championships 2018.  The Arena has athletics at its heart, and we have an unrivalled heritage of hosting world class events here.

“The recent investment in the new track and in-field, will ensure we continue to offer top quality facilities, and that the athletes have the best experience possible”.

More details about the timetable and tickets for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 will be unveiled in the next few months.

Ends

*Arena Birmingham is also known as the Barclaycard Arena and was previously known as the National Indoor Arena

  • The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be staged in Birmingham from 1 to 4 March 2018 and will be jointly organised by Birmingham City Council and British Athletics. This is the second time that the city has hosted this prestigious event, having successfully organised and delivered the ninth edition in 2003. Around 400 athletes from 150 different countries are expected to compete, including some of the global superstars of the sport.
  • More details about the event, including information about tickets and the official website for the Championships, will be available very soon.

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