Borough offer to boost late Games bids

Wigan's Jenny Meadows takes over the baton to help England win their heat of the 4 x 400 Metres Relay at The Commonwealth Games at The City of Manchester Stadium

Wigan's Jenny Meadows takes over the baton to help England win their heat of the 4 x 400 Metres Relay at The Commonwealth Games at The City of Manchester Stadium

Wigan will lend its support “in any way it can” to North West bids for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, its council leader said today.

Durban was this month stripped as host city due to financial issues and both Manchester and Liverpool, along with Birmingham, are keen replacements.

Lord Smith said, due to the borough’s Greater Manchester links, he would prefer a return for the Games in Manchester, previously host city in 2002.

Wigan and Leigh would be handily placed to offer support for international teams should Liverpool win the rights though, he told the Wigan Post.

He said: “Of course we do have facilities here in the borough suitable for teams to use as a base such as Leigh Sports Village with the hotel and stadium. Hopefully it will be a Manchester games but in terms of offering support we could help if it goes to Liverpool. We will be supportive in any way we can and maybe I will learn more about the Manchester bid when we meet with GMCA colleagues at the end of the month.”

The borough’s involvement in any future events may be handed a boost if rowing returns to the Games, which is mooted in the coming years. Pennington Flash has in the past been floated as an potential venue for rowing events and would be ideally placed, if not for the official venue then for training or preparation purposes for a North West games. And involvement could provide an economic and cultural boost to the borough in similar fashion to the borough’s hosting Rugby League World Cup matches in 2013.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) stripped Durban of host city status after the country’s sports minister admitted the nation could not afford them.