Selly Oak Member of Parliament, Steve McCabe, visited the University of Birmingham’s new Sport and Fitness Centre yesterday, where he was given a guided tour by Director of Sport, Zena Wooldridge OBE, who told him about the new development, which has been ten years in planning, and the potential role of these facilities should the city be successful in its bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He saw at first-hand the state of the art swimming pool, gymnasia and fitness clinics, including squash courts that would be used for the Commonwealth Games and the extensive training facilities that would be available to athletes from across the world during the Games. He also recently met with members of the Jamaican track and field team, who have chosen to return to the university to train for a second time in advance of the World Championships next month.
The £55 million development has an Olympic standard swimming pool which can be used by local schools and extensive facilities for those with disabilities. There are large numbers of community memberships available for local people. Two international standard hockey pitches are also in the process of being built, which would be used for the Commonwealth Games.
Steve McCabe said:
“It was fantastic to visit the Sport and Fitness Centre and see with my own eyes just what Birmingham has to offer. The university is making a real contribution to helping our star athletes of the future, as well as offering first class facilities to the people of Birmingham. The superb quality of the building and sheer range of facilities is amazing. I’m not at all surprised that a top notch team like the Jamaicans have seized on the chance to use these facilities and I am more convinced than ever that Birmingham is on a winner with our Commonwealth Games bid. Last week the Birmingham MPs got together to lend our support to the bid and there is now a real chance for Birmingham to show just what we can do.
I am also pleased that the new Sport and Fitness centre has brought new jobs to Selly Oak, where unemployment remains high compared to the national average. The sports pavilion currently under construction will also be a great community hub, not just for students but local residents as well. This type of community engagement is really exciting and I look forward to working with the university to strengthen community engagement opportunities right across the constituency so that people can see for themselves what an asset the University of Birmingham is to our area. ”