Pictured (left to right): Louise Bennett, Martin Reeves, Rowena Cole, John Timms

A leading business organisation in Coventry and Warwickshire used its first face-to-face event in close on a year to throw its support behind a major sporting event coming to the region in 2022.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its first ‘in person’ event since October at the Telegraph Hotel in Coventry, bringing together business people and civic leaders.

After a brief opportunity for networking, guests at the event were given an insight into the International Children’s Games which is returning to Coventry from August 11 to August 16 in 2022. It was previously staged in the city in 2005.

The event heard from Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Chamber and High Sheriff of the West Midlands; Martin Reeves, chief executive of Coventry City Council; John Timms, of the International Children’s Games; and Tom Baynton-Williams, who is leading the sponsorship effort for the Games, which will see more than 1,500 young athletes from 30 countries competing in the city.

The Games are approved by the International Olympic Committee and offer 12 to 15-year-olds the chance to compete in athletics, 3-on-3 basketball, climbing, football, swimming, table tennis and tennis.

The Games Village will be at the University of Warwick, with sporting action taking place at Coventry University, The Alan Higgs Centre, the University of Warwick and in the city centre Broadgate.

Businesses were urged to get behind the event either through sponsorship, support-in-kind or spreading the word about the Games and encouraging staff to be volunteers.

Rowena Cole, a Coventry athlete – who competed in the, 2006 and 2007 International Children’s Games, winning the 800 metre race on both occasions – was interviewed by Yuri Matischen, from the event organisers, about her experience.

Rowena, who now works for CV Life – a partner in the delivery of the event in Coventry, said: “Competing in the International Children’s Games was huge for me and gave me experiences I couldn’t have dreamed of.

“If, as businesses, you support the Games coming to Coventry, you are not just investing in an event, you are investing in life-changing experiences for Coventry kids.

“The International Children’s Games is a great way of inspiring the next generation to be the best they can be in whatever they want to achieve in life.”

Louise Bennett said: “It was great to bring people together for a face-to-face event for the first time since October, especially at such a fabulous new venue.  Connecting businesses is what the Chamber is all about.

“The theme for the event was very fitting as the International Children’s Games brings together young people from all over the world and we are delighted that it is coming to Coventry again in 2022.

“It was great to hear from Rowena and the event organisers on what a huge benefit this will bring to those involved and to the city, including a £2 million plus economic impact for Coventry.

“There was also a great deal of pride in the fact that Coventry has been chosen again because it offers truly world class sporting facilities and is, once again, bringing a major international event to our region on the back of UK City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games.”

The International Children’s Games is being delivered with Coventry City Council, in partnership with Coventry University, the University of Warwick and CV Life. MLS is the event management company working with key stakeholders and partners.

Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Events at Coventry City Council, said: “It was great to see people coming together to support and learn more about this event.

“Coventry was a great host to the games back in 2005 and it would be fantastic to be able to give that to the competitors of 2022. So many young people will benefit from taking part in the Games in so many ways, so I would really encourage businesses to support and help out where possible.

“I look forward to taking part in more celebrations for the International Children’s Games as we prepare for the Games to come to Coventry next year.”