David Grevemberg hopes schedule changes, including a compressed five-day athletics programme, will attract athletes to the Birmingham event
Commonwealth Games bosses are working on further scheduling changes for the 2022 Games in Birmingham to make it more feasible for athletes to attempt a world, European and Commonwealth hat-trick that summer.
On Thursday the Commonwealth Games Federation announced new dates of July 28 to August 8 for the Birmingham event, meaning it will start and finish one day later than originally planned.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Athletics Championships in Oregon has also been delayed and will now take place on July 15-24, 2022, while athletics at the European Championships in Munich is scheduled for August 15-21.
In such a packed summer some athletes will be forced to prioritise certain events over others but David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, believes the 2022 treble provides the sport and its athletes with a “momentous opportunity”.
“We’ve had to look at how we consolidate the athletics programme to give adequate rest periods between the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth Games, but also respecting the European Championships as well,” says Grevemberg.
“We’ve had helpful support in maximising the schedule with World Athletics so we’re co-ordinating the schedules in that relatively short time frame to make sure we’re maximising attendance and participation from those athletes.
“It comes down to the scheduling of certain events compared to when they start and finish at the World Athletics Championships,” he adds. “The detailed schedule is being worked through and it’s far from complete.
“But the daily schedule will be more at the back end of the programme and be more compressed, going from seven days to five days. It makes it tighter but there are opportunities to make it more exciting and more impactful.”
Recognising that having all three events in one summer is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for athletes, Grevemberg says: “I think it’s a wonderful challenge – to do the unprecedented.
“You could almost create it as a grand slam. It’s a challenge and athletes like a challenge.
“This is a historical moment,” he adds. “It’s up to us as organisers to find solutions and that’s what we have tried to do in difficult circumstances. It’s trying to look through that adversity and create as much positive opportunity as you can while exercising our duty of care and focusing on that athlete-centred focus. I think we’ve got a good balance.
“We need to continue to listen through this process and I don’t think we’re out of the woods but we have a good plan right now and we’ve got partners that are really focused on making the best experience for the athletes.”