In exactly 12 months’ time, Birmingham will host the IAAF World Indoor Championships and so the countdown has officially begun to what will be the biggest sporting championships held in the city for 15 years.
The event will see more than 400 athletes from 150 countries come to the city to take part and with another major championships being held on home soil, the British athletes participating in the event could have a real advantage. This is something which the GB team capitalised on back in 2003 when the championships were last held at Arena Birmingham*, with the home nation winning seven medals.
One of those medals was won by former Coventry Godiva and British sprinter, Marlon Devonish, who took gold in the men’s 200m and came to the arena on Wednesday to help mark the 12 month countdown.
Marlon explained what it meant to him when he won his medal in 2003: “To win a world championship gold medal in Birmingham was something very special. The crowd that day were amazing and I’m sure that fantastic atmosphere will be replicated next March, when the IAAF World Indoor Championships returns to the city. Winning a medal in a major championships, in front of a home crowd, is every athletes dream and I’m sure there will be plenty of British athletes hoping to achieve that dream next March.”
Registration for the event, which will be staged from 1 to 4 March 2018**, was launched at last month’s Müller Indoor Grand Prix and since then thousands of people have already signed up at www.wicbirmingham2018.com. As well as receiving regular news and information about the Championships, those people that register will be given priority, when it comes to buying tickets.
The Local Organising Committee, which is mainly made up of representatives from Birmingham City Council and British Athletics, who are jointly organising the Championships, is already working hard to organise all of the different elements of the event and Joan Durose, Championships Director for the event, said: “We know the next year will go very quickly so we are already working extremely hard to ensure we put everything in place to host the best possible championships. We’ll be launching tickets in just a few weeks’ time, so I urge everyone to register now, so that they don’t miss out on what is sure to be a wonderful sporting occasion in Birmingham.”
Niels De Vos, Chief Executive of British Athletics said: “With one year to go until the IAAF World Indoor Championships we’ve made some excellent progress and we are looking forward to welcoming the world to Birmingham once again. The Müller Indoor Grand Prix last month showed what a spectacular setting the city is for indoor athletics and I’m sure the championships will be a huge success.”
A full website will be launched soon at www.wicbirmingham2018.com and in the mean time you can follow the event on Twitter at @wicbham2018 or on Facebook at @WICBirmingham2018.
*Arena Birmingham is also known as the Barclaycard Arena and was previously known as the National Indoor Arena
**Timetable will be approved by IAAF Council on 12/13 April 2017.