Top athletes set for Birmingham Grand Prix meeting

November 23, 2010

Birmingham will welcome top athletes from around the world next summer as the city hosts another big sporting event.

The city council has signed a three-year deal with UK Athletics to bring the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix to the Alexander Stadium.

It becomes one of 14 venues worldwide to host a meeting as part of the Diamond League.

Organisers say the events can attract 50 million TV viewers.

The Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr will join the ranks of New York, Rome, Shanghai and Monaco in staging the Samsung Diamond League meet in the summer of 2011.

The leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Mike Whitby said: “This is another major sporting coup for the city of Birmingham, underlining our status as Britain’s sporting city.”

UK Athletics Chief Executive Niels de Vos described it as “massive” for Birmingham.

“One of the reasons the IAAF, the International Federation, was keen to come to Birmingham was because of its reputation.

“It’s always hosted great meets.”

Commonwealth Heptathlon Champion and Birchfield Harrier Louise Hazel described it as an “amazing opportunity for Birchfield Harriers and the Alexander Stadium.”

Plans for a £12.25m redevelopment of the stadium were given the green-light in September.

They include a 5,000-seater stand with office space.

Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport Cllr Martin Mullaney said the development would be self-financing.

“What we’ve worked out is that the rent from the office space underneath [the stand] will actually generate enough money to pay back the building costs of the stand overall.”