Liverpool, UK Sport and British Gymnastics are to bid to host the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet is set to endorse British Gymnastics’ bid to the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG), on Friday, December 15, which if successful would bring together 700 gymnasts from over 80 nations for 10 days of exhilarating action, generating an estimated 15,000 bed nights and a £6m boost to the local economy.
Last held in the UK in 2015, when Glasgow attracted a worldwide audience of 665 million viewers, the 2022 championships has an added cache as it will be the first event for nations to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Liverpool is seeking to host what would be its biggest ever international sporting event at the waterfront based Echo Arena complex, which has annually hosted the British Championships since 2012 and will host the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards this Sunday.
And as part of the bid, British Gymnastics have announced the Kings Dock venue, which has held Davis Cup ties and many other major sporting events, will continue to host these championships until 2022.
The move is designed to underpin a capacity building and audience development programme, as well as providing the GB team with the best possible opportunity to qualify as one of the top three nations for Paris.
The World Championships would also be a lasting legacy of the work undertaken by Liverpool for its 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, which had aimed to base the gymnastics element in the same venue.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “The World Gymnastics Championships in 2022 would be a huge sporting occasion for Liverpool and a unique opportunity to showcase the city to a global audience.
“Liverpool has a fantastic track record in nurturing gymnastic talent like triple world champion Beth Tweddle and we’ve fostered a great relationship with British Gymnastics by hosting its championships since 2012, so a 2022 World Championship would be great way to celebrate a decade long journey.
“A lot of hard work remains to be done but our exciting bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games undoubtedly boosted the city’s reputation for its ability to host prestigious sporting events.
“We have world class facilities, brilliant partners in the city and in British Gymnastics and UK Sport, and we have the x-factor in our passionate crowds who are second to none, so I can guarantee we would give the sport of gymnastics a World Championships to remember.”
Both UK Sport, which will support the bid through National Lottery funding, and British Gymnastics regard Liverpool’s ability to co-locate all competition and training facilities at the Kings Dock as a huge asset – with on-campus hotels requiring minimal transport requirements for athletes, coaching staff and judges.
A UK bid is also strengthened by the fact that British Gymnastics is held in high esteem by the FIG for its ability to stage world class events, having held three World Championships, the most recent of which in Glasgow was widely acknowledged as the best ever, as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2012 Olympic Games.
Legacy will be another key element in the bid and British Gymnastics is already working collaboratively with the city council’s Sports Development Team to assist with the establishment of a community development programme to build participation across the city up to and beyond the championships.
Matthew Greenwood, Events Director at British Gymnastics, said: “We are delighted to partner with Liverpool City Council and UK Sport on the bid for the 2022 World Championships. We have a rich history of working together and staging magnificent events in the city. To bring the World Championships back to the UK ahead of the Paris Olympic Games and host it in Liverpool would be fantastic.'
Esther Britten, Head of Major Events of UK Sport, said: “Bidding for the World Gymnastics Championships forms part of our ambitious strategy to invest National Lottery funding to maintain the UK as a world-leading host of innovative and inspirational international sporting events. Seven years on from successfully hosting the 2015 Championships in Glasgow, we look forward to working in partnership with British Gymnastics, City of Liverpool and the FIG on the 2022 edition.”
Beth Tweddle, Liverpool’s celebrated Triple world gymnastics champion, said: “I lived, trained and went to University in Liverpool and, having won three World titles, it fills me with a huge amount of excitement and great pride to imagine these championships in our great city in 2022. The tournament would be ideal for gymnasts given the compact nature of all the venues and hotels and having competed myself at the Echo Arena know full well what an amazing atmosphere our passionate fans can bring to the event. We also have sport in our blood in Liverpool, and I know our passionate and friendly fans would ensure an amazing atmosphere!”
The Federation of International Gymnastics is expected to announce the winning bid for the 2022 World Championships at its next council meeting in Istanbul in May 2018.