What does it mean to have the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here in our city with the eyes of the world looking on? We asked our Head of Athletics, Luke Gunn.
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Video content: This video features the University of Birmingham's Head of Athletics, Luke Gunn, answering a series of questions about the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
[Luke Gunn, Head of Athletics, University of Birmingham]
It's an immense honour being the Head of Athletics here at Birmingham. It's a job that I never thought would come up at such a young age. And so I was fortunate to just be finishing up my own athletics career when the job came up. I feel very fortunate to be heading up a team of coaches and it’s very much a team effort here at a university that I was very proud to come to as a student myself and my alma mater, and I'm very proud of the University of Birmingham and its athletics team. So, yeah, it's an immense pride.
[On-screen title] What are your hopes for the England team?
My hopes the England team next year... well, firstly, as an athlete, I want the athletics team to be sweeping all the medals. It's a home game, so we want our athletes to use that home advantage. As a Brummie, as an adopted Brummie, I just want us to put on an amazing show for everybody. We've all gone through it in the pandemic, and hopefully this will be the first major championships without any restrictions where everyone can celebrate sport and the city all at the same time, and I know we'll put on a really good show.
[On-screen title] How excited are you for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?
I don’t think it’s really settled in yet, but the hockey and squash happening on university campus. That's the first time a university’s ever hosted a Commonwealth Games sport, let alone the fact that we're going to be housing most of the athletes from all the sports on the campus as well. So, wow! It’s going to be busy here, because we know how busy the campus can be at the best of times, but what an honour for the university to be in a position to do that. And it's great to be fully involved in what's going to be going on in the city, from a university point of view. And from an athletics point of view, I'm really honoured that I will be on the the team coaching staff for the athletics team in the city as well. So they'll have a real home advantage by having somebody that knows the back streets and the ways around the city as well.
[On-screen title] Can you describe the atmosphere at the Games?
So the atmosphere at the games, I've been really lucky to go to three myself, in Melbourne, Delhi and Glasgow. It's such a big scale. The full scale regalia, as an athlete walking around the city, you know, the branding being everywhere, everyone knowing that the Games is going on is such a buzz about the place. Walking out into a stadium, especially at home games, which I know Scotland is not a home games, but in Glasgow I got an ounce of what that felt like. I mean, it literally made me walk eight feet tall. You know, the the advantage of being here and the buzz of what goes on, but it's the months leading up into it, you know, the anticipation, you know, seeing things being built for it. It's an incredible you know— I think we all saw that in 2012 with how much a sport can capture the imagination of a country when it's happening. And it's nice when athletics and other sports, you know, steal that away from football, for those few years when it's on and, you know, it really will be a place that people are going to want to book off work for the whole month to just absorb it all in when it's here.
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