Smith, who won bronze on the pommel horse in Beijing, performed a short routine as part of the opening ceremony, which was also attended by Bruno Grandi, President of the FIG.
The new centre has been built to Olympic specifications and has already been included in the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games’ (LOCOG) pre-games training camp guide and therefore has been recommended as a venue for international teams to use as a base ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “Today’s opening marks the development of yet another world-class sporting asset for Birmingham, and underlines the City Council’s commitment to providing exemplary Sports Facilities. We are looking to attract some of the best international teams to use Birmingham as a base ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, and I have no doubt the prospect of training in the GMAC will be a great allure for gymnastics teams across the globe.”
FIG President Bruno Grandi was impressed: “The FIG through our relationship with British Gymnastics, have developed a very intimate relationship with Birmingham and we are delighted to see gymnastics will continue to develop in this city. I am sure all of our gymnasts will enjoy working and training here in the future and I’m sure being here will enhance all gymnasts aims in achieving great success as we look forward to London 2012.”
The brand new facility, which has cost nearly £7.5 million to build, has been funded by Birmingham City Council through the sale of the Birmingham Sports Centre site. It is the only facility of its kind in the country and incorporates a fully equipped gymnastics hall, with a floor space for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. The hall also has 400 seats for spectators which can be retracted to create an area for trampolines.
As well as a demonstration from Smith the opening ceremony also included an aikido display and performances from both local gymnastics clubs and members of British Gymnastics elite training squads. Local school children also attended the opening and took part in jujitsu, aikido and gymnastics classes.
For more information about the GMAC call 0121 675 8959 or go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/gmac.