Commonwealth Games: Buzz missing in Birmingham
After all, it’s been a decade since England hosted its last quadrennial sporting extravaganza, the London Olympics in 2012.
has always been known for its ‘Bull Ring’ at the city’s Central Business District where a bronze bull statute has its pride of place.
No wonder, the official mascot ‘Perry’ resembles a bull but just when bump into Perry and start grinning from ear to ear, the smile vanishes before you can spell ‘B-I-R-M-I-N-G-H-A-M’.
There are a couple of itsy-bitsy posters or dare we call some insignificant billboards do let people know that indeed an event of this magnitude is happening in England’s second largest city and home to a sizeable Asian population.
More than 5000 athletes from 72 Commonwealth nations are set to take part in the multi-sporting spectacle but the prospect doesn’t seem to be exciting enough for the general public.
The lack of excitement in the city centre for the Games was clearly visible as the locals went about their business on a nippy Tuesday afternoon. It was just another Tuesday and there was nothing special about it.
The widely reported heat wave in the UK suddenly seemed to be a thing of the past with maximum temperature hovering around 20 degrees and the gloomy English weather, depressing for people used to bright sunshine only added to the woes.
The canal running through Birmingham Indoor Arena, one of the main CWG venues, brought calm and the organisers would be hoping it would lead to a storm of spectators in the coming days with over 1.2 millions tickets sold.
It seems the entire country is glued into the Women’s Euro Football Championship, which has reached the business end, but asking about the Commonwealth Games draws a drab response.
One couldn’t escape a feeling of deja vu as the 2019 ICC Men’s World Cup had coincided with the women’s FIFA World Cup and with ‘Three Lionesses’ reaching the semi-final, Eoin Morgan’s team were way lower down the popularity pecking order.
The sports pages of leading newspapers in the country hardly had a mention of Birmingham 2022 with Women’s Euros dominating the headlines.
“I knew about the Commonwealth Games when they were looking for volunteers couple of years ago. After that, I have not followed it all,” said an Essex resident Fran on the train from London to Birmingham.
A local scribe on the same train was pretty candid in his observation when asked about the coverage of the Games, good or bad.
“I don’t think there has been much coverage actually. I feel it will change once the Games open on Thursday,” he said.
The country’s capital, London, too has very little clue about the happenings in Birmingham.
“I don’t even know when they are happening and where,” said Scales, a Scottish native, who lives in London.
The country’s biggest airport, Heathrow, is known for its serpentine immigration queues but the experience was a breeze for this correspondent and a bunch of other reporters on Monday night.
However, there was no indication that the event with a 92-year-old history would be up and running in two days time. After all, something that’s remnant of the vestiges of a bygone colonial era doesn’t strike a real chord with either classes or masses.
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