October 7, 2022

Alexander Stadium
Alexander Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the 72 teams gathered from around the world for Birmingham 2022
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: July 28 to August 8
Cover: Watch live on BBC TV with additional streams on BBC iPlayer, the Red Button, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport mobile app. Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra. live text and clips online

Work began on the Alexander Stadium redevelopment in February 2020 – the UK’s wettest February on record.

The finishing touches to the Commonwealth Games focus came in July 2022 as temperature records were smashed in a scorching UK.

Climate change is here. But it is also everywhere else.

And some of the nations competing in Birmingham have felt the effects more keenly.

Three Commonwealth athletes tell BBC Sport their fears and hopes for the future of sport, humanity and the planet.

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya, athletics)

Eliud Kipchoge

Kipchoge became the first person to complete the marathon course in under two hours at a high-tech event in Vienna in 2019. He switched to the road only after a successful athletics career that included 5,000m silver at Delhi 2010. He started the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, which focuses on the environment and education to improve lives around the world.

“Where I live and train, high in the Kenyan countryside, almost 80% of the population are farmers.

“People know that the rains are not the same as they were five years ago and that climate change is real

“It also affects the athletes. Climate change is pressing hard in some countries and it is not possible to run for two, three hours.

“It’s really sad as a marathon runner.

“Running in warmer environments is so difficult. It’s scary how, at the end of a session or race, you feel like all your energy is gone.

“We saw how the marathon at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 had to start at midnight because otherwise it would be too hot.

“If you want to perform, if you want to really enjoy running, you have to have a clean environment with clean oxygen.

“So it’s very important for me to stand up and speak out about the environment.

“Social media channels can show people the results more easily than before. You can tell a friend to tell a friend that this is our country, our continent, our habitat, our home. No we have another.”

Eroni Sau (Fiji, rugby sevens)

Eroni Shaw

Shau ​​was part of Fiji’s silver medal-winning sevens rugby team at Gold Coast 2018. He also played two seasons with Edinburgh before moving to current team Provence in the south of France.

“There is a big problem, especially where I grew up on the islands. There you can especially see the changes caused by climate change every day. It’s happening before our eyes.

“In my mother’s village, there was a building that was a kitchen and bathroom block. When I was a kid, it was 10 meters away from the beach. But it doesn’t exist anymore.

“All you can see is the foundations under the sea.

“I came home recently after four years away. There is a cemetery where we buried our grandparents, but now people are talking about moving the bodies further into or closer to the mountains because of sea level rise.

“It really affects our lives, even the sport.

“As kids we would love to play rugby on the beach. We would always play on a strip of sand at the top of the beach, the sea on one side and the coconut trees on the other.

“Now, although this strip of sand is not there at low tide, the water comes past the coconuts. There is no beach, there is no place to play.

“It really affects the whole world though. In France, where I’m playing rugby now, I feel hotter than at home. I got off the plane in Marseille and felt dizzy because it felt so much hotter. I really find it hard in the south of France in the summer.” .

Mubal Azzam (Maldives, swimmer)

Mubal Ajam

Azzam was one of the Maldivian flag bearers at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old competed in three individual events and two relays for his nation at Birmingham 2022.

“On many islands in the Maldives, houses have been flooded and there are problems with erosion.

“In the capital Male, where I have lived most of my life, we have artificial beaches that the public can use, but there has been a very huge change in the disposition of the sand, with a lot of erosion in one area. the whole topography has really changed.

“I see a growing environmental consciousness among athletes in our generation. We have seen the effects first hand.

“I used to train in the ocean with my team and there were many times when it was difficult to do it because the water was so polluted.

“We knew we had to get used to it because we couldn’t change it at the time. But it got me thinking about how to help our country and people become more sustainable on the planet.

“I think the sports community can have a lot of power to change opinions because it brings people together.

“I’ve met a lot of like-minded people. I feel like sports has a big influence, it can have a big influence on the world.”

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