The World Indoors are just over 24 hours away. Here is a piece from the WIC Birmingham Media team on esoterica regarding the Arena Birmingham. I have been fortunate to have seen many of those performances, and looking forward to being there once again!
ATHLETICS AT ARENA BIRMINGHAM
Arena Birmingham has hosted an eclectic mixture of major events – from the Eurovision Song Contest to world championships in gymnastics and judo – but it is in athletics where the venue has established itself as a home of historic performances.
The arena also played host to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2003 and has witnessed a total of 17 world indoor records and world bests.
Here are some key facts about the history of the venue which has regularly hosted IAAF Indoor Grand Prix meetings.
- Distance and middle-distance runners and pole vaulters have particularly enjoyed the stage in Birmingham. Ten world indoor records have been set at the venue: Nourredine Morceli, 1000m (1992), Liz McColgan (GBR), 5000m (1992), Maria Mutola, 1000m (1996), Haile Gebrselassie, 5000m (1999), Wilson Kipketer, 1000m (2000), Gaby Szabo, 3000m (2001), Svetlana Feofanova, pole vault (2003), (GP), Feofanova, pole vault (WIC) (2003), Kenenisa Bekele, 5000m (2004), Yelena Isinbayeva, pole vault (2005).
- Seven other world indoor bests have been set on the Birmingham boards: Gebrselassie, 2000m (1998), Hailu Mekkonen, two miles (2000), Gebrselassie, two miles (2003), Kenenisa Bekele, 2000m (2007), Bekele, two miles (2008), Genzebe Dibaba, two miles (2014), Mo Farah, two miles (2015).
- Some 584 athletes from 132 countries competed at the 2003 world indoors. The medal table was topped by the USA with 15 medals, nine of them gold. The British team finished fourth with two golds, three silvers and two bronze.
- The 2003 championships saw major successes for local athletes. Ashia Hansen, who lived and trained in Birmingham, won the women’s jump competition while fellow local athlete Daniel Caines took silver in the men’s 400m. Marlon Devonish, who comes from nearby Coventry, grabbed gold in the men’s 200m.
- Kim Collins (SKN), the oldest male competitor at the 2018 championships at 41, won a silver medal in the 60m at the 2003 event behind American winner Justin Gatlin.
- One of the highlights of the 2003 event came in the last session when Russian Svetlana Feofanova set a world record of 4.80m in the women’s pole vault final.
- For athletics, the arena has a capacity of 7,500 people. For other events it can hold up to 15,800 spectators.
- The venue, opened in 1991, underwent a Â£26 million redevelopment in 2014, improving facilities for athletes, performers and spectators. It is the only venue in Britain to have hosted the world indoor championships.