Hosting three men’s ICC Cricket World Cup tournament matches next month is another landmark achievement for this city. It’s a reminder of the priority we place on sport, not just as a means to connect globally but to celebrate the inclusiveness of Bristol.
Reigning champions Australia, past winners Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as Bangladesh and Afghanistan are all in action in group games at the County Ground between 1st – 11th June. And with South Africa, the West Indies and New Zealand also playing pre-tournament warm-up games here this month, there is no better opportunity for our city’s diverse communities to enjoy a global sporting event together.
Bristol successfully hosted eight ICC Women’s World Cup matches in 2017 and our status as a host city for the men’s tournament this summer continues to show we are delivering world class sports events to the city.
The Circuit of the Mendips, the Tour of Britain and a future for T20 cricket internationals in Bristol are among events to have been hosted or secured in recent years. We have also declared our ambition for Bristol to be a host city for the football’s 2030 World Cup, should a bid from this country proceed.
But securing major events is only one of several priorities within our approach to sport.
Bristol was named as a European City of Sport for 2017 because of our sporting facilities, level of participation, success of local teams and sporting events – and our Bristol Active City website continues to promote activities taking place across the city.
Our proud cultural and sporting history is a core contributor to the ongoing success of the city and to making Bristol a better place to live. Our ‘City of Openness, Imagination and Originators’ strategy sets out our ambitions to ensure that every citizen should be able to participate in and benefit from the city’s cultural and sporting life.
Bristol is the most active of the Core Cities, with over 70% of citizens meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s Guidance on physical activity, but the challenges posed by economic and social inequalities remain.
Sport and general physical activity plays an important role in both physical and mental health and well-being. We want to inspire all people to get involved, be it by providing services, being open to ideas and enabling others to run events, or continuing to work with community groups to promote sport and physical activity in under-represented groups.
Campaigns such as ‘Bristol Girls Can’ aim to break down the barriers around exercise and inspire more women to get active, while the Empire Fighting Chance boxing project challenges and inspires young people to realise their potential. Run4Life has been delivering Beginner Running Courses across Bristol since January 2015 and the 16th June Let’s Ride cycling festival, in partnership with British Cycling, is an example of a fun activity open to all.
I hope that the arrival of the men’s Cricket World Cup in Bristol will connect, entertain and inspire our citizens and visitors alike, helping us to achieve the goal of creating healthier and more resilient communities.