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Stadium makeover will be legacy beyond Commonwealth Games, PM says

Theresa May said that the 2022 Games will provide opportunities for Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Theresa May has said a £70 million makeover of Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium will be a legacy beyond the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Prime Minister announced the investment on a visit to the athletics arena, where she joined children on a sports camp practising shot put with beanbags.

Mrs May removed her coat and adopted the typical shot put pose to throw the bag before receiving a round of applause from the children after her attempt.

The athletics arena, which was first opened in 1976, will have its capacity increased from 12,700 to 40,000 in time for the Games.

Alexander Stadium will also be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, and will retain 20,000 permanent seats after the event.

The revamped stadium is also set to include community sports facilities within the new stand, a permanent warm-up track and a new conference meeting space created to host business and cultural events.

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Prime Minister Theresa May throws a bean bag (Christopher Furlong/PA)

Speaking inside the stadium, Mrs May said: “What I’m announcing today is £70 million which will go into revamping this stadium, into rebuilding three of these stands, increasing the capacity and it will be a real state-of-the-art facility.

“That’s for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 here in Birmingham but it will be a legacy for beyond 2022, not just for Birmingham but for the whole region.

“I think it’s really exciting that the Commonwealth Games are coming here – they’re coming to the UK, coming to Birmingham – there will be real opportunities here in Birmingham and the West Midlands for businesses, for people and also for youngsters like those I have seen today who I hope will be our athletes of the future.”

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Theresa May (centre) talks with young athletes during her visit to Alexander Stadium in Perry Park in Perry Barr, Birmingham (Christopher Furlong/PA)

Mrs May watched children in the athletics Easter holiday camp compete in a relay race before awarding some of them certificates and also met Birmingham 2022 hopefuls at the stadium.

Birmingham was awarded the 2022 Games last December. They were originally given to Durban but the South African city was stripped of hosting duties in March 2017 after running into financial difficulties.

The budget for the Games will be released once a full review has been completed but a hotel tax, which would see visitors to the city pay a small levy on their bills, is believed to be one option under consideration.

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