Our International Sporting City

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For years the three words had little meaning, but finally the ‘International Sporting City’ dream is starting to become a reality for Milton Keynes, writes Simon Downes.

Originating from the city’s success in being included in England’s 2018 football World Cup bid, the concept appeared to be little more than a pipe dream in light of the country’s disappointment in 2010, with Russia eventually winning the right to host the tournament.

But 2013 is proving to be the game-changing year for the International Sporting City ambition, and this week’s news that the English National Badminton Championships will come to MK from 2014 is the icing on the cake.

The announcement that the competition will be held at the arena next to stadium:mk next year follows Badminton England – the sport’s governing body – being granted permission to build its new headquarters at the National Bowl, moving from Loughton.

The news in April followed that of planning permission being granted for a new £40 million development at the Leisure Plaza in CMK that includes a refurbishment of Planet Ice, creating one of the best ice rinks in the country.

It was also revealed last month that stadium:mk will be the venue for three group stage matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, including the visit of France.

And further news relating to the future of the Bowl as a significant sporting venue is expected in the coming weeks, including MK Dons’ plans to build a new training facility at the iconic music venue. That could also be used as a training base for a team competing at the Rugby World Cup.

Milton Keynes Council has been a massive driving force behind the success of the past few months, and although no one seems to know who first uttered the three words, the ‘International Sporting City’ should be on everyone’s lips now.