Colors: Yellow Color

Wolverhampton City Sports Advisory Council held a celebration to mark its 50th anniversary last week.

Since 1967 the Sports Advisory Council has promoted and represented sports clubs across Wolverhampton, as well as supporting individuals and celebrating their achievements.

It has also worked closely with the City of Wolverhampton Council to launch the Sporting Hall of Fame, held at WV Active Aldersley, which recognises and celebrates the achievements of dozens of sportsmen and women who have represented Wolverhampton on an international stage, from athlete Denise Lewis to Wolves footballers Bert Williams and Billy Wright.

To mark its golden anniversary this year, sportsmen and women past and present, along with others who have been involved with the council over the years, were invited to a special celebration event at the Diamond Banqueting Suite on Wednesday 24 May, 2017.

Chair of the Sports Advisory Council Peter Holmes MBE said: “We are celebrating 50 years of dedication to sport.

“In this time, we have successfully put the City’s sporting achievements in the spotlight to show the people of Wolverhampton the benefits and contributions of our City’s sportspeople and sports clubs.

“Ultimately, their fantastic achievements enhance Wolverhampton’s reputation and the image of the City itself.”

Among those in attendance was Deputy Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Phil Page who said: “The City of Wolverhampton is proud of its athletes and their success over the years, and it was great to see so many sports represented at this event.

“On behalf of the City of Wolverhampton Council, I would like to congratulate Wolverhampton City Sports Advisory Council on its 50 years and thank it for all the help it has given to sportsmen and women in our area. Here’s to the next 50 years.”

With seven events dropping in to six cities, AX throws together an intoxicating mix of world-class indoor Motocross racing, high-flying Freestyle Motocross and a show to rival any music festival including lights, lasers, pyro and a pumping soundtrack. With over 60,000 fans streaming through the doors each year, it doesn’t matter if you’re a life-long two-wheeled super-fan, or this is your first AX visit – there are few better ways to banish those winter blues.

Heading into its sixth year, AX is an international affair with athletes from around the world travelling to compete in arguably the most prolific indoor race series Europe has to offer. Young racing warriors from the age of seven will take to the track too and, like their aspiring heroes, will engage in fierce competition with a single-minded determination to claim Arenacross glory.

Away from the racing, the crammed tour programme will include radical Freestyle Motocross, where the giants of FMX showcase their breath-taking skills with tricks and backflips, some sixty foot above the arena floor. This must be seen to be believed!

With its highly-charged atmosphere, thumping beat, lasers, lights, and presenter hype, fans are left in no doubt that being an Arenacross spectator means they’re as much a part of the show as the racers themselves. And whether it’s children’s favourite, MAX the AX mascot, meet and greet the pro riders or up-grading your tickets to arrive early and walk the track with the stars, the action doesn’t get any better than this adrenalin-fuelled night of entertainment that will leave you on the edge of your seats!

Leading precious metal asset firm, Rosland Capital, chose the 2017 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix to unveil their latest coin collection - designed in collaboration with the Ayrton Senna Institute (Instituto Ayrton Senna) - celebrating the landmark first win at the most renowned circuit in F1 by its most famous son thirty years ago.

Six 30oz Gold Coins (a number specifically chosen to mark this special anniversary) along with a further 180 2.5oz Gold & 300 2.5oz Silver Coins all bearing the iconic image of the legendary Brazilian driver have been produced as part of a wider series of celebratory events that took place in Monaco to commemorate the first of his record six wins in Monte Carlo - in 1987 while driving for Team Lotus.

The limited number of coins created mark them out as timeless collectors’ items for any true F1 and Senna fan. Each individually crafted coin, featuring his unmistakable image, is minted by Swiss-based PAMP S.A., one of the world’s finest coin producers and celebrates the enduring legacy of one of the most iconic racing drivers of all time, with a share of the proceeds going directly to the Ayrton Senna Institute.

Rosland Capital CEO, Marin Aleksov presented Senna Institute Director and the late icon’s niece, Bianca Senna, with the Gold & Silver coins after the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for the three-time F1 World Champion by HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Fairmont Hotel, Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix weekend.

Aleksov was thrilled to showcase this special coin collection to Bianca Senna in Monaco: “We are honored to be part of this wonderful celebration of the anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s first win in Monaco thirty years ago. We know how important his legacy is to all Formula 1 –and indeed all sport - fans – and as such we feel very privileged to have been asked by the Ayrton Senna Foundation to produce this special range of gold and silver coins. With a share of the proceeds going towards the incredible work of the Foundation, this is a project that we are extremely proud to be associated with.”

Bianca also commented on the celebration of her uncle’s legacy: “It was an unforgettable weekend at the Monaco GP due to the tributes in honor of the 30th anniversary of Ayrton's first win in Monte Carlo, opening the series of six victories that still stands as an F1 record.

The launch of these coins immortalizes these celebrations by engraving in gold and silver such a special moment for us at the Ayrton Senna Institute and my uncle's fans in Brazil and all over the world."

Speaking at the Laureus Sport for Good European Summit, Pete Edwards from Manchester-based organisation The Running Charity - which using running to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem in homeless youth – said; “I’m leaving here with hope. Where there is sport, there is hope,” which proved poignant words in light of recent news from the city.

One of the world’s greatest football coaches Fabio Capello attended the Summit, in Stockholm, in Sweden, joining small group conversations and learning about the day-to-day work of the programme leaders in attendance. The hugely successful Capella offered his own personal experience of football in countries across Europe, before delivering a motivational message to programme leaders, encouraging them to instill a winning mentality within their organisations.

“Throughout my playing and managing career, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that sport can have,” he said. “It brings people together, gives them a common purpose and instils confidence in young people. I always worked in organisations with a winning mentality; I encourage you to adopt a winning mentality within your organisations. Be the best you can for the youth.”

The Laureus Sport for Good European Summit, hosted in partnership with the Swedish Postcode Foundation, brought together more than 50 programme leaders from organisations across Europe who uses sport to change the lives of young people. The event aptly took place in the sporting surroundings of Bosön on the outskirts of Stockholm, a picturesque campus which serves as a training facility for many of Sweden’s leading and aspiring athletes.

A fiercely entertaining day out for everyone this half term is a brand new, £1m attraction opens tpday at Playgolf in Bournemouth – Mighty Claws Adventure Golf.

Open seven days a week, this prehistoric paradise is home to some of the largest and fiercest animatronic dinosaurs on the Jurassic Coast. Suitable for the whole family, kids can swing, cut and slice their clubs through 18 holes of prehistoric thrills and near life-sized dinosaurs before devouring some of the best pizzas on the South Coast at The Kitchen Club.

Nestled between an erupting volcano and a five-metre high waterfall, the terrifying – almost life-sized moving 'Iron Jaws' can be found throughout the 18-hole course, breathing, moving and even roaring. Visitors will also get to know the friendly 'Sweet Claws' dinosaur characters along the way as they try to navigate the flowing streams, play three hidden holes in the awesome echoing cavern and follow the jungle paths before completing the course with a rest stop in a dramatic Dino Jaw Throne.

Taken from the children's storybook 'The Invasion of the Iron Jaws', created by Michael Volokh, the impressive course is based on the first episode in the adventures of a small group of lovable dinosaurs from Sweet Claw Valley, who must undertake a series of fearsome adventures in order to free their valley from the evil Iron Jaws. A number of Mighty Claws Adventure Golf courses are planned to open nationwide, each themed around one of the many adventures of the Sweet Claws dinosaur chums.

With Wasps having won only four of the past 15 Premiership meetings between them and the Exeter Chiefs and back Kurtley Beale being ruled out of the Premiership final at Twickenham, the Wallaby’s absence may prove pivotal in the outcome of what is already a tight match to call.

The Chiefs make one change to the starting XV which overcame Saracens, with wing Olly Woodburn replacing top try-scorer James Short, whilst Willie Le Roux switches to full-back, with Josh Bassett starting on the wing.

Despite their knock-back, though, Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: "We have a lot of respect for Exeter Chiefs, who are a quality team and a quality club. We've had some memorable battles over the past couple of seasons and know how well drilled and coached they are, so we will have to be at our absolute best to win.

Exeter Head Coach Rob Baxter said: "We're probably a stronger group going into this game than we were last week, which is always nice. But we've got to make sure that we don't expect that having a bit of experience from last year will be that big a factor. We've got to demand that what the big factor is, is the quality we play at."

Wasps finished Aviva Premiership in 1st place, with Exeter finishing 2nd but in 14 past Premiership finals, the league winners have only gone on to win at Twickenham five times (Sale 2006, Leicester 2009 and 2010, Harlequins 2012, and Saracens 2016) – which makes this one very hard to call.



The United States Virgin Islands is now an approved destination to host National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I teams and, in addition to hosting basketball, volleyball and swimming events, the Territory can facilitate the participation of soccer, lacrosse and other NCAA-sponsored sports during the summer months.
Governor Kenneth E. Mapp said the new designation represented a huge boost for sports tourism opportunities in the Territory.
He made the announcement Friday at a news conference at Government House on St. Thomas, where he was accompanied by Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty; Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation Pedro Cruz; Assistant Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation Calvert White; and Nels J. Hawkinson, Executive Director of Basketball Travelers, Inc., which runs the USVI's annual Paradise Jam basketball tournament in November.
"With all 24 NCAA Division I sports teams now able to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands for summer tours, we look forward to being part of the growth of the Paradise Jam competitions and to the possibility of hosting other NCAA sporting events," the Governor said, recognizing the potential for a significant positive impact on the Territory's economy. 
"This is an amazing opportunity to expand our sports tourism portfolio and our facilities."
The USVI and Basketball Travelers have partnered to bring five men's college basketball teams to the Territory as early as this August now that the USVI has been approved as an international or foreign tour destination for Division I colleges across the United States.
Hawkinson, whose Basketball Travelers organizes both domestic and international basketball competitions for college and high school teams, said there are 340 Division I universities in the United States, each with approximately 25 sports with 50 potential teams (men and women combined) that can now visit the islands.
"We're very excited to build on the success we've had for the last 18 years with Paradise Jam and to bring additional teams here. We're looking forward to this new initiative and continuing our great partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands and its people," he said.
Currently visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands for the 50th time, Hawkinson said his love affair with the Territory is still as strong as it was 20 years ago when he first visited on a cruise ship. "That's what makes your islands. Everywhere I go (people) are friendly...and it's so wonderful to know that when we bring groups here that people are friendly and they understand basketball and sports."
Three U.S. Division I schools, James Madison University, the University of Northern Colorado and Vanderbilt University, will visit the Territory this August for the Paradise Jam Summer Tours, along with Canada's Carleton University and Brock University.
"This partnership opens doors for new business in the summer and fall, with the potential to host more basketball teams and athletes in other areas," Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty noted. She added the Tourism Department has been hard at work developing marketing strategies specifically for college and university audiences.
The Commissioner said sports teams comprising 15 to 20 visitors are being encouraged, explaining that Paradise Jam, through its basketball competitions in the fall, currently produces $2.4 million in direct economic impact and more than $6 million in media exposure. "The event has a 22:1 return on investment for the U.S. Virgin Islands, so we are looking forward to this opportunity to have many more types of these sporting events as we build our sports tourism network."
The Paradise Jam Summer Tours, which allow visiting teams to experience the natural beauty of the USVI while playing competitive out-of-season games against international opponents, will feature basketball games on St. Thomas, and for the first time, on St. Croix.
In addition to the five teams traveling to the Territory, the USVI National Team will compete in the summer tours, marking the first time in 15 years the national team will compete in the islands. The team's first faceoff will be the opening game of the Paradise Jam Summer Tours on August 13, on St. Croix against Vanderbilt University.
Assistant Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation Calvert White, who is working directly on the initiative, said that in light of the unprecedented success of the Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament and the growth of the sports tourism market, the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation looks forward to strengthening its partnership with the Department of Tourism and Basketball Travelers.

Organisers have unveiled the official medals for the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships London 2017, which place the drive and determination of athletes at the heart of its unique clockwork design.

Based within the shape of an athletics track, both sets of medals for the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships are layered with symbols of every event for each schedule, an intricate design that bears resemblance to the inner workings of a watch.

With London the historical home of Greenwich Mean Time, the medals for the IAAF World Championships also feature iconic London landmarks that sit on the River Thames – Tower Bridge, the London Eye, the Shard and Big Ben – to give a strong sense of location.

For the World Para Athletics Championships, the layering of the equipment enables visually impaired athletes to feel the details of the medals while there is braille on the reverse marking the host city and the year.

The medals were designed by Birmingham-based Toye, Kenning & Spencer who asked themselves “What makes an athlete tick?” when creating the medals. Founded in 1685, Toye, Kenning & Spencer have a proud history, holding a royal warrant and being commissioned to manufacture the medal presented to serving personnel in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Five-time Paralympic medallist Dan Greaves, European and Commonwealth silver medallist Jazmin Sawyers and coach of Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, Toni Minichiello, were all part of the creative panel that fed into the medal design process.

Dan Greaves said: “You don’t need to much motivation going into a home World Championships but being part of the panel and having helped to choose such great medal designs really does make you want to win one. I more determined than ever to get on the podium in London.

“The medals are so unique and I really like how my event, the discus, is represented along with all the other disciplines. As an athlete, a lot of hard work and time goes into winning medals and it is great to see that element of time reflected in the design.”

Jazmin Sawyers said: “I loved being part of the panel. It was something that I have never done before and such a unique experience to see what goes into making the medals for a World Championships. It is great that organisers wanted input from athletes and coaches.

“Long jump is all about getting your timing right. If you get your run up just right and hit the board at exactly the right time you can land a big jump. That is what I will be aiming to do this summer and I can’t wait to hopefully be a part of an amazing World Championships.”

Toni Minichiello said: “The IAAF World Championships London 2017 is going to be a fantastic event and that organisers are recognising the coaches of medal-winning athletes with a medal for the first time too is a great progressive step.

“A coach works very closely with athletes and it’s important to understand what makes them tick. It is great to see that element being applied to the medals. At a big event like a World Championships, mindset and good decision making at the right time makes the difference between being successful and not.”

The biggest sporting events in the world in 2017, the World Para Athletics Championships kick off the Summer of Athletics from 14-23 July with the IAAF World Championships following at the London Stadium from 4-13 August.

Niels de Vos, Championship Director, said: “We are very proud of the unique medal designs for both the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships London 2017. It isn’t easy to demonstrate so much on a medal but Toye, Kenning & Spencer have done a fantastic job with a design that carries such a great message.

“There are 213 medal events at the World Para Athletics Championships and 47 medal events at the IAAF World Championships and every athlete dreams of standing on the podium to collect one. Hopefully we have made that moment even more special by presenting a truly unique medal.”

Hamish Ritchie, Account Manager at Toye, Kenning and Spencer, said: “For us as a company it was massive honour to be chosen to design the medals. It has been a while since we have worked on such a large scale international event like this and it is really nice to have that support.

“They wanted something that was made in Britain entirely. We have the factory in Birmingham and the factory in Bedworth were the medal ribbons are manufactured. For us to be able to manufacture everything here, with our own manufacturing capabilities is fantastic.

“We are very proud to have been able to show off what we can do, not only our company but as a country for such an international event. We can say with pride that we made the medals for the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships London 2017.”

The national carrier of the State of Qatar will be named the official airline partner of the highly anticipated Paris ePrix, as well as the title sponsor of the 2017 Qatar Airways Paris ePrix which will take place around the architectural complex of Les Invalides in the French capital on 20 May.

The airline will also be named the official airline partner of the first-ever New York City ePrix taking place in Red Hook, Brooklyn on 15-16 July 2017.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to be named the official airline partner of the Formula E electric car races in Paris and New York. We are very pleased to be able to support this environmentally-friendly sport that promotes the latest technological innovations in producing alternative energy solutions for electric cars. Qatar Airways is committed to promoting the importance of sports in bringing people together through our many partnerships, such as this one with Formula E, as well as those with F.C. Barcelona and Al Ahli Saudi F.C.”

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E, said: “It’s fantastic news that Qatar Airways is joining the electric street racing series as race title partner of Paris and official airline partner for two of the flagship events on the Formula E calendar in Paris and New York. This partnership continues to show the growth of the series on a global scale; we are working closely with distinguished companies in a variety of industries and fields all over the world. I’m delighted to add Qatar Airways to the growing list of partners joining Formula E, demonstrating arguably the best partnership portfolio of any sporting platform.”

Qatar Airways is the official sponsor of many sporting events, including the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and the Qatar Total Open, as well as being the official sponsor of F.C. Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi F.C. The airline is also widely regarded as having one of the most modern and energy efficient fleets in the sky.

Qatar Airways, widely recognised as a leader in innovation and technology in the aviation industry, recently unveiled its new business class seat “Qsuite” at ITB Berlin. The airline also announced the launch of its new redesigned website, as well as introducing high-speed broadband that will offer the same connectivity speed on board as on the ground, in partnership with Inmarsat (GX Aviation).

The SSE Women's FA Cup Final between Birmingham City and Manchester City is set for a new record-breaking attendance with up to 40,000 expected at the Wembley showpiece on Saturday.

The meeting of two top-flight sides is now set to surpass the 32,912 that saw Arsenal Ladies beat Chelsea 1-0 in the 2016 final.

This will be the third Final to be held at the national stadium and is set to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

Four-time Women’s FA Cup winner Casey Stoney admits she will be looking on enviously when Manchester City and Birmingham City do battle for the historic trophy at Wembley.

Stoney, 34, has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in a game which has changed almost beyond recognition since she started out with Arsenal back in 1999.

“It’s the biggest day in the women’s football calendar without a doubt, with SSE’s sponsorship and it being at Wembley, you can’t help but get excited,” she said.

Birmingham - who won the trophy at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate in 2012, in front of fewer than 9,000 people - are in their second final, while Women's Champions League semi-finalists Manchester City are yet to win the competition.

The 2016 Women's Super League One champions beat Liverpool in this year's semi-finals, while Birmingham knocked out 2015 winners Chelsea on penalties.


Having overcome a serious disability Sham Singh Shera has become one of the world’s most famous bodybuilders. And he is coming to the UK to compete - for the first time ever.
Sham was diagnosed with Polio in his right leg at one-year-old, news which he found upsetting when growing up.
But far from letting this condition limit his life, he embarked on a daily training regime to strengthen his weaker leg and walk without the use of supports.
He has gone on to win several major national and international bodybuilding competitions including Mr India, Mr World (Wheel Chair) 2011 and the IFBB World Championship.
This led to medals, awards, celebrity recognition from Bollywood actor Salman Khan and the ability to open his own fitness centre – Shera Health Club – in Faridkot, India.
He is now set to compete at the BodyPower Fitness event at the Birmingham NEC on May 12-14.
Sham says: “When I was growing up and started to understand more about Polio affecting me I decided to do something positive with my life so people couldn’t limit me by my condition. I always looked up to my elder brother, who is an athlete and at 15, I started following his regime, avoiding walking supports and gradually turned the odds in my favour.
Along the way, I have experienced setbacks and difficulties. In 2011, I didn't have much money for my visa, tickets and accommodation for the Mr World competition in Spain. My parents sold many items and my father even sold his tractor and farming equipment so I could go. I won that competition – despite the Indian government not support me in any way.
I am, however, happy and grateful to BodyPower for supporting me to come to the UK for the first time – and to compete as an athlete - Thanks to them.” BodyPower CEO, Nick Orton, says: “At BodyPower, we strive to include all successful athletes in our events and
are proud to welcome all competitors, regardless of whether they are disabled or not.
All our athletes demonstrate the power of the human body to achieve spectacular levels of fitness – they are actively pushing the boundaries of the body’s power.
“We were humbled to hear Sham’s story and are happy to help support him to showcase his impressive achievements here in the UK. I hope that his story inspires athletes from all communities, all over the world.”

Laura Muir will use The Müller Anniversary Games on 9 July to attempt to break Zola Budd’s 32 year old British record for the women’s one mile.

Muir has recently set new British records for 1500m and 3000m and is now aiming to follow Sir Mo Farah with a clean sweep of British middle-distance records.

Since it opened in London 2012, the London Stadium has established a reputation as a super fast track, having seen five world records in four years, including the 100m hurdles at last year’s Müller Anniversary Games.

Muir said: “I am in the form of my life and want to make the most of it. With the mile being a non-championship distance, The Müller Anniversary Games is the best possible chance I have to claim the record. The mile is such an iconic event and to become the British record holder would be massive for me.”

Steve Cram, British record holder for the men’s mile, said: “The mile is an historicdistance for British athletes, going back to Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile. Laura has the chance to run at the best stadium in the world, on a track that we know is fast, in a race set up for the record – I believe if conditions are good she may even threaten the world record.”

Muir added: “The Müller Anniversary Games is one of the best events in the global athletics calendar. It’s always a wonderful experience to return to the London Stadium where there is such a passionate crowd and I encourage people to come and support not only myself as I challenge for this record, but also give the British team a great send-off for the IAAF World Championships.”

The Müller Anniversary Games is part of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League and will be one of the British Athletics team’s last chance to compete ahead of this summer’s IAAF World Championships, which will see the best athletes in the world return to the London Stadium a matter of weeks later from 4-13 August.

British Athletics is encouraging fans to turn out in red, white and blue for the Müller Anniversary Games and cheer on the Brits as they prepare for one of the biggest sporting events in the World.

Korea Tourism Organization in collaboration with the PyeongChang2018 Winter Olympic Committee brought the PyeongChang2018 Winter Games Road Show to the palatial surroundings of the Four Seasons Hotel London. In the presence of H.E. Mr Joonkook Hwang, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UK, the CEO of Korea Tourism Mr Chang Soo Jung and Mr Hyung Koo Yeo, secretary General of the PyeongChang2018 Organising Committee, and a host of guests joined the countdown to the games. A press conference and speeches delivered a timely update about PyeongChang2018 progress.

The evening gave a snap-shot of next year's Winter Olympic Games, in terms of venues and infrastructure, the regional tourism potential of the Gangwondo region and the legacy this event will provide in the form the new rail connection between Seoul and the PyeongChang cluster. It was also the chance to introduce and connect the UK's Authorised Ticket Seller 'Sports Travel & Hospitality Group' for the Winter Olympics and members of TeamGB including the British Olympic Association Chairman, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Robertson, to key members of the press and travel trade.

British Skeleton racer and current Olympic Gold Medallist Lizzie Yarnold MBE was the star turn at the event (see images) bringing yet more glamour to a prestigious event.

According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup and Gilani Pakistan, 69% Pakistanis believe Pakistan Cricket Team’s performance will improve because of Pakistan Super League.

A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked, “Please tell, to what extent is it possible that Pakistan Cricket Team’s performance will improve because of Pakistan Super League?” In response to this question, 36% said it is highly possible for Pakistan Cricket Team’s performance to improve because of Pakistan Super League, 33% said somewhat possible, 23% said somewhat not possible, while 8% said not possible at all.

The study was released by Gilani Research Foundation and carried out by Gallup and Gilani Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International. The recent survey was carried out among a sample of 1833 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country, during March 06 – March 13, 2017. Error margin is estimated to be approximately ± 2-3 per cent at 95% confidence level.

A Birmingham bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 has been endorsed by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company – on the same day the UK Government has said it was ready to work with cities interested in hosting the Games.

At a meeting on Friday (April 21), the Birmingham bid company reviewed a feasibility study produced by consultants Origin and decided it would be in the best interests of Birmingham and the wider region to put forward a proposal to stage the event, last staged in England in 2002.

The city had initially been preparing a study for the 2026 Games, but the plans were brought forward following the news Durban would no longer be staging the 2022 Games as planned in South Africa.

Exact details of the Birmingham feasibility study have to remain confidential at this stage whilst the report is taken through the cross-party political and democratic processes of the city council.

The study will then form part of a public report to the council Cabinet in the coming weeks, at which point everyone with an interest in the proposed bid will be able to analyse its merits.

It is understood the merits of formal proposals from across the UK will be considered before the selection of a candidate bid to compete against rivals from other Commonwealth nations for the honour of staging the games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation, which administers the event on an overall basis, is expected to make a final decision on the replacement 2022 host by “mid-summer” of this year.

Cllr Ian Ward, Chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company, said: “We now have confirmation from our consultants that a Birmingham bid for the Commonwealth Games would have a very strong chance of success.

“Given today’s announcement that the Government want to hear from cities interested in hosting the 2022 Games, we are making it clear we have an interest in being considered for the privilege.

“The feasibility study, if endorsed by the city council as hoped, puts us in prime position to do just that.”

Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog have today been revealed as the official mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships respectively following a nationwide search in partnership with iconic BBC children’s television show Blue Peter.

Whizbee and Hero were created by talented Elinor, aged nine from the West Midlands and stood out from an overwhelming response of more than 4,000 entries to the official mascot competition run by organisers and Blue Peter in February.

Elinor impressed a stellar judging panel including representatives from the Organising Committee, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the IAAF and Blue Peter as well as Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and double Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead MBE, who both helped launch the search.

From the entries received, 29 of the top 30 were submitted by children outside of London with the key to Elinor’s winning entry being her important message about the need to protect bees and hedgehogs with numbers in decline across the UK.

Elinor is now set to receive four tickets to a session at both Championships, a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of the finished mascots and a Blue Peter orange competition badge having already enjoyed a VIP visit to see her designs come to life.

In line with Elinor’s wishes for her Whizbee, organisers conducted a successful search for an actor with a below knee leg prosthetic to perform as the mascot in the build-up and throughout the World Para Athletics Championships – something that has never been done before.

Whizbee the Bee is the official mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships, which takes place at the London Stadium from 14-23 July, and Hero the Hedgehog is the official mascot of the IAAF World Championships, which takes place at the same venue from 4-13 August.

Elinor said: “It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner. I was so happy when I was told. When I saw the competition, I was really inspired but I didn’t think I would win. I chose Whizbee and Hero because they are endangered species and are survivors. Bees are really important because they make the world go around and hedgehogs are determined and brave. Whizbee has a blade like the Paralympians which is really important. It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots. I can’t wait to see them in the summer.”

Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “I really enjoyed being part of the judging panel for the London 2017 mascot design competition. Having stepped away from the track it was nice to be asked to be involved in this year’s World Championships in a different way.

“As a mum I love the idea of London 2017 and Blue Peter encouraging youngsters to get involved with the Championships by designing the mascots. There were so many good, creative designs it was pretty hard to choose a winner.

“I think Elinor’s reason for choosing a bee and hedgehog, and the fact that they are creatures in our everyday lives in Britain, made the designs stand out. Hopefully the mascots will bring a lot of fun and energy to the Championships.”