With just over two years to go until the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, Team England have announced that Kukri Sports will be the home nation’s official kit supplier for the third consecutive Commonwealth Cycle.
Kukri Sports have designed and produced Team England kit for the last two Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast 2018 and Glasgow 2014 and have been brought back on board for a home Games. As part of the deal, Kukri will create the kit that athletes will represent their country in, encompassing 19 different sports, including eight para sports.
Keeping athletes at the forefront of the design process, Team England and Kukri have today hosted a virtual athlete panel. Each National Governing Body that represent Team England athletes in Birmingham 2022 were invited to nominate up to two athletes to be involved in creating the design for the kit and be part of creating the Team England identity.
The panel, held via a virtual video conference, included 23 elite English athletes from 17 of the 19 Birmingham 2022 sports. Also joining in their capacity as Commonwealth Games England board members, were the three athlete representatives, Aimee Willmott, Ama Agbeze and Ali Jawad. In addition, Commonwealth Games England President, Denise Lewis OBE, took part in the panel. She said:
“It’s fantastic that athletes have agreed to give up their time and contribute to such an integral part of Team England’s identity.
“The look, feel and the general WOW factor of the team kit for our home Games in 2022 is so important. When it comes to kit, each sport has specific requirements and needs, therefore the functionality of the apparel produced has to be right. It’s also important that we look and feel like ‘One Team’.”
Originally, the kit panel was due to take place in person, with Team England bringing together athletes from Commonwealth sports. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been held virtually for the first time. In both Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018, athletes were involved in the kit design, but over double the number of athletes have joined ahead of the 2022 Games kit design, with athletes at the forefront of planning more than ever before.
Each athlete was sent a design package consisting of a design book with blank sketch pages and coloured pencils which they filled in and fed back to the team.
Athletes were given an overview on the kit development process between Kukri and Team England over the last two Games cycles in Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 and were asked to provide feedback on previous Games kit as well as the first design concepts for Birmingham 2022. Following on from today’s panel, the athletes will remain involved along every step of the way as the design concept develops.
Paul Blanchard, CEO of Commonwealth Games England, said:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Kukri Sports again for Birmingham 2022. With a home Games, we know our kit has to be impactful and create a strong image of our Team England values but most importantly the athletes need to feel comfortable in what they perform in. The process we’ve been through with Kukri over the last two cycles has worked to refine our kit with a focus on performance and we will build on that to show off our best in Birmingham.
“It’s been incredible, given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 that we have been able to engage with so many athletes in an innovative way and I would like to thank our partner Governing Bodies for their support in this process.
“The size of our kit project is huge with the complex nature of accommodating for 19 different sports, including eight para sports, and over 600 people and Kukri have proven time and time again that they are up for the challenge. We’re really looking forward to seeing the designs come to life after today and we can’t wait to share it.”
For the Gold Coast 2018 cycle, 38,000 items of kit were produced by Kukri for Team England as they travelled across to Australia, where the athletes returned with 136 medals.
Chris Marshall, Director of Sales at Kukri Sports, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Team England for the 2022 Games, which will be our third cycle alongside the team. As an English brand working towards a home Games, this collaboration has been made all the more special.
“Our renewed partnership has been the culmination of a project undertaken after the Gold Coast Games in 2018. We have always been proud of our heritage in providing truly bespoke apparel, however in 2018 we knew we had to be innovative and bold in developing a new capability and product range to work with Team England again, as they prepare for Birmingham.
“The England team want to be at the pinnacle of their performance at every competition, so we developed with them. With this in mind, the range we are designing, with the input of the Team England athletes, will be a new chapter in the company’s history and one we cannot wait to launch.”
The kit design, which will be worn by over 600 athletes and staff at Birmingham 2022 will be revealed ahead of the Games when the athlete vision is brought to light.