Men’s Rio Team Captain Thomas from Wolverhampton and Downie, who is the current European all-around champion, were in the city to launch the event, which will see the long awaited return of international gymnastics to the West Midlands.
Tickets for the highly anticipated clash between the world’s top gymnastic nations go on sale to the public today (Tuesday) as the UK team begin their quest for medals at the World Championships in Montreal.
News of the event coming to Birmingham follows the city’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which last week received government approval. The city is likely to know its fate later this year, but if the bid is successful, the Arena will host the gymnastics events at the Games.
Gymnastics World Cup Ambassador, Thomas said:
“As a Wolverhampton lad, I’m proud to see this event being staged on home soil and in my backyard. The British team have been enjoying incredible success on the world stage and are battling other nations for medals right now in Montreal. The next time British gymnasts face some of those international gymnasts will be right here in Birmingham.
I know how much people in this area love their sport and they always show great passion when they are supporting Great Britain. I can’t wait to see them turn out for the team and get behind their country in Birmingham next March – they’re in for a treat.”
Downie, who also picked up silver and bronze medals at the European Championships in April expressed her excitement of the World Cup coming to the Midlands. The 18-year-old from Nottingham added:
“This World Cup is fantastic event for us all-around gymnasts. We get to compete and show off our skills on every piece of apparatus. And the gymnast with the highest score at the end, wins – simple! We’ll be up against some incredible athletes and nations so taking the top spot won’t be easy. But I’m sure the GB team will be ready. They’ll be on our turf and we’ll have the home crowd advantage.”
Garry Peal, Events Commissioner Manager, Birmingham City Council said:
“We’ve had a long and strong relationship with British Gymnastics and the fact that we’ve been chosen to host the World Cup in 2018 is tremendous, this event will showcase Birmingham, as we prepare to be the host City of the Commonwealth Games 2022.”
The men’s competition takes place on Wednesday March 21st with the women’s following on Thursday March 22nd. Full details and tickets are available from www.gymnasticsworldcup.co.uk with prices starting from £18 for a session and family tickets available from £48 (booking fees apply).
The competition in Birmingham is the penultimate event in the World Cup series, which begins in USA. It then heads to Germany before the UK and reaches an exciting climax in Japan.