Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has appointed Team England netball player, Ama Agbeze, and former karate world champion, Geoff Thompson to the board of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee to help deliver the biggest sporting and cultural event ever staged in the West Midlands.

Originally from Birmingham, Ama Agbeze captained Team England's netballers to their historic Commonwealth gold medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, as well as winning a bronze medal at the Melbourne 2006 Games. 

Ama is also ambassador for the United by Birmingham 2022 community programme. With her in-depth knowledge of international sport and as a qualified lawyer, she has held a number of roles as an ambassador, trustee and board member to various charitable organisations as well as Commonwealth Games England over recent years.

Due to the independent nature of the position, Ama has now resigned from the Commonwealth Games England Board. 

Ama said:

“I am extremely grateful to Commonwealth Games England for giving me the opportunity to join a Board of astute, forward thinkers. In the time since I was appointed I have been welcomed, educated, heard, supported, and have felt valued and part of an organisation that doesn't just talk about things on trend, but sets trends; and as such it is bittersweet that I am stepping down from the Board for the position on the Birmingham 2022 Board. I leave comfortable in the knowledge that Team England are in extremely safe hands and no stone will be left unturned to ensure the readiness and success for the team at the B2022 Games.”

Commonwealth Games England Chair, Ian Metcalfe said:

“We are thrilled and proud that one of Team England’s gold medal winning athletes and Commonwealth Games England Directors has been selected for this important and prestigious role, and delighted for Ama. We are of course very sad that the independent nature of this new role requires her to resign from the Commonwealth Games England Board and all associated roles with our organisation and we hope that one day in the future, once the Games is over, there may be an opportunity for her to become more directly involved with us again. We wish her well, and are sure that she will make a very significant and positive contribution to the OC Board, further strengthening the athlete voice.”

On her thoughts of joining the Board, Ama said:

“Having a major competition on your doorstep is a rarity. Therefore, being part of the Organising Committee for a Commonwealth Games that will showcase your home city and its surroundings to the world is an absolute privilege for me - a definite once in a lifetime opportunity which I will relish. I am looking forward to fully engaging with the role and working with John and the rest of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee Board to ensure the Games are a celebration of sport, community, culture and equality.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:

“I’m delighted to be able to appoint Ama and Geoff to the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee board. Having both competed at the highest level and excelled in work across sport more widely, I know their experience will be invaluable to the board.

“They will play an important role in delivering the biggest sporting and cultural event the West Midlands has ever held, showcasing the best of the UK in what will be a landmark year for the country."

The board oversees the planning and delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It remains on budget and on schedule to be held from 28 July to 8 August 2022.

The board is made up of sports, civic and business experts and leaders representing Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority, the UK Government, Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games England. Members of the board will serve until 30 June 2023 following the delivery of the Games.

John Crabtree, Chair of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee said:

“It is an absolute pleasure to be able to welcome Ama and Geoff to the Birmingham 2022 board and I am very much looking forward to getting their input, insight and ideas as we ramp up the delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Their sporting expertise speaks for itself  - they are world beaters and incredibly inspiring individuals.  They know what it takes to seize an opportunity in order to achieve something great.  From our conversations so far they have made clear how passionate they are about Birmingham and the West Midlands and how they share in our vision to bring the benefits of these Games to as many people as possible. They are very welcome additions to the board.”