Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham's 'sky needles' switched on

The needles at night
Image caption The needles will be switched on permanently on 2 December when the arena fully opens

Three steel structures on Birmingham's National Indoor Arena (NIA) have been lit up to mark the venue's reopening.

The so-called "sky needles" were switched on by athlete Matthew Hudson-Smith and NEC Group arenas director Phil Mead in a ceremony at 18:45 GMT.

They will be lit permanently at night from 2 December, when the arena fully reopens.

The needles form part of a £26m redevelopment of the arena, funded by a loan from Birmingham City Council.

Each stands at a different height, similar to a medal podium. They are said to symbolise the arena's sporting history.

The tallest of the three structures is 26m (85ft).

Image caption Arena director Phil Mead and athlete Matthew Hudson-Smith switched the needles on
Image copyright NEC Group
Image caption The three structures represent the three levels on an athletics podium, as a tribute to the arena's sporting history

The NIA, opened by sprinter Linford Christie in October 1991, is to be renamed the Barclaycard Arena from December.

NEC Group, which runs the arena, it hoped hoped the needles would eventually become a symbol of the city.

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