Ian Reid has called the COVID-19 pandemic "challenging" for Birmingham 2022, but insists "the project is in really good shape" ©Getty Images

Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid has praised his team's work during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing digital recruitment as an example of how the hurdles of the health crisis have been cleared.

Reid called preparations for the Commonwealth Games next year "challenging" due to travel restrictions, but said the organisation of the event was going "surprisingly well".

"It's been challenging, but it's been challenging for any organisation in any sector," Reid said to insidethegames at a one-year-to-go festival organised by Birmingham 2022.

"When we moved into lockdown 16 months ago we had 70 staff and now we have more than 400 that have been recruited digitally. 

"It's gone surprisingly well - we've managed to continue getting contractors on board and sponsors on board.

"Despite having to adapt, the project is in really good shape. 

"We have everyone back in the office and we see that as a major milestone. 

"I see it as a huge opportunity. 

"We could have one of the first multi-sport events that has full stadia again."

Reid attended the one-year-to-go festival on Wednesday (July 28) along with Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin, United Kingdom Minister of Tourism Nigel Huddleston, Birmingham 2022 ambassador and Olympic relay champion Mark Lewis-Francis and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

With the pandemic ongoing, Reid outlined some of Birmingham 2022's tasks in the year running up to the Games.

"We've got to onboard our volunteers, get our workforce into shape and ready for the Games; make sure the construction projects are completed and then we add in all the temporary fit outs such as seats," Reid said. 

"We have all of our logistics team ready to go.

"There's lots on but we have a lot of great people, Games expertise from previous events in the UK, we have some brilliant local people who are passionate about making this special for the city and the region."

Due to the pandemic, Birmingham 2022 had to scrap plans for an Athletes' Village, instead moving accommodation to hubs across the host city when a review suggested it would not be delivered on time.

The pandemic also forced the Games to be pushed back by 24 hours in a bid to avoid clashes with the World Athletics Championships and the semi-finals of the UEFA Women's Championship, which were both moved from 2021 to 2022.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are set to take place from July 28 to August 8 next year.