A delegation from USA Track and Field, the governing body for athletics in the US, visited Birmingham on Thursday (October 27), to discuss the details for a proposed training camp, which would be held in the city in July 2017.
They visited various sites across the city, including the Birmingham High Performance Centre and Alexander Stadium, which is where the US athletes would finalise their preparations for next August’s IAAF World Championships in London.
They also met with representatives from Birmingham City Council, who are coordinating arrangements for the camp and successfully hosted the previous USA Track & Field camp, held in the final days before the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Duffy Mahoney, Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track and Field, led the delegation and said: “It’s great to be back in Birmingham and we’ve had some very productive meetings over the last couple of days. We know that Birmingham has excellent sports facilities and is extremely experienced when it comes to looking after elite athletes, so I’m sure that we would receive the best possible support for our team. We feel we’re very close to agreeing a contract.”
As well as visiting the proposed training facilities, accommodation for the athletes, coaches and support staff was also discussed and the delegation met with senior representatives from the council, including Deputy Leader, Councillor Ian Ward, who said: “It was a pleasure to welcome USA Track and Field back to Birmingham. The American team will no doubt include reigning world champions and some of the super stars of the sport and, as always, we’ll be looking to ensure that we provide the team with world-class support and a very warm welcome to the city.
“Once all the details are agreed, we’ll also look at how we can make the most of having the global stars of athletics staying in Birmingham, and use this as an opportunity to inspire young people in the city to reach their own sporting potential.”
Following the visit, discussions about all the finer details of the camp will continue and further announcements will be made in the next couple of months.
If the camp is confirmed, Birmingham will become like a second home for American athletes for the next 18 months, as some will compete at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix on February 18 and others at the Muller Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium on August 20. Plus many athletes and support staff will return to the city again in March 2018, for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held at Birmingham’s indoor arena.
- Birmingham successfully hosted training camps for both USA Track and Field and Jamaica back in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games, and the University of Birmingham are also in discussions with the Jamaican team about a return visit
- The 2012 training camps brought an estimated £8 million economic boost to the city