Salford, 11th March 2016
In response to the Daily Post Prompt Legacy
They say a Legacy is something left behind after you are gone.
Something to remember you by.
This is definitely true for the Legacy of the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.
You see, it may have been a short sports competition, smaller than the Olympics but it led to so much more.
Athletics took off in a big way in the city thanks to the Commonwealth Experience. After the Glorious Competition which saw Sale Harriers Darren Campbell lead the Anchor leg for England in the City of Manchester stadium, the athletes moved in to the training track next door – the Regional Athletics Arena. A perfect compact venue for athletics, and one that would host world class events, world, Olympic and commonwealth trials long after the track would leave the stadium and become a home for Manchester City Football Club.
And as part of that legacy. The Regional Athletic Arena has hosted training for schools and colleges around Greater Manchester, as well as worldwide.
The GMEX – Now known as Manchester Central – Hosted Judo and Badminton Contests during the games. It is one of the largest conference venues in the country, but still hosts Concerts and Sporting Contests, Most recently the World Taekwondo Grand Prix.
Swimming was another sport which Manchester’s locals took to their hearts, as
in 2008 the city became host of the FINA world swimming championships. Training took place in the Manchester Aquatics Centre whilst the event Itself took place in the Manchester Arena, another commonwealth venue, which bedazzled the crowds with its wonderful lightshow and effects
Cycling is another sport which has benefited from Manchester, as home to the UK Cycling team. The City has been proud hosts of the World Championships in 2008 and regularly hosts major Cycling Events in the National Cycling Centre – which now hosts a purpose built BMX track for supercross events.
When London was awarded the Olympics and Paralympics , Paralympic Sport was already in the eyesight of Manchester, as the city hosted the IPC Paralympic world cup event – covering a number of events in the lead up before and up to the London Games – The Games Focused on Four Key Sports – Athletics, Swimming, Cycling and Wheelchair Basketball. As the years progressed Sitting Volleyball and Boccia were added to the programme
The Australian Swim team trained at the aquatics centre during the run up to Olympics, and during the Paralympics Brazils Paralympians based themselves in and around the University Campus in Manchester, Focusing on Sitting Volleyball, Athletics, Wheelchair Basketball and Fencing. When the sport began in earnest – Old Trafford was the home of the group stages of the Olympic Football contest.
And every one of these events was manned by a cast of fantastic volunteers – some who have become personal friends along the way. We received plenty of training in our roles and some have become organisers of volunteers at other events.
As for me – I continue my role with Sale Harriers at the Regional Athletic Arena and turn up at other venues when required…and my own reminder – hangs proudly on the bedroom wall – A commemorative medal and certificate from the Manchester games, and a baton from the London Games – then there’s the kits and the pins and the rest…A plaque dedicated to the 10,000 volunteers rests by the new athletic arena, by a glass wall dedicated to the gold medal winners
When the flag was passed on from Manchester’s games it didn’t stop the action, after all as the Banner at the Aquatics centre says – “We do things differently here“