The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have presented us with an excellent opportunity to raise the quality of sporting facilities across Northern Ireland”.
That was the message from Sports Minister, Edwin Poots, MLA, as he visited the London 2012 Roadshow in Coleraine.
He said: “With the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games as our driving force, Northern Ireland has the chance to raise the level of our sporting facilities to a world-class standard. The Â£53 million provisionally allocated for the development of elite facilities has attracted a lot of interest from across the region and bids under stage two of the competition are currently being assessed by Sport Northern Ireland.
Applications range from a velodrome to rowing and over the next few months decisions will be made on which bids reach the winning standard. This major investment will enhance the ability of Northern Ireland’s athletes to compete at the highest level as well as inspiring future generations to get involved in sports.”
The Minister continued: “It is so important that people in Northern Ireland can reap the benefits from the Games and enjoy first-class facilities. Having a quality sports infrastructure will also help to attract Olympians from across the globe to use our facilities for pre-games training camps.”
The London 2012 Roadshow visited Coleraine to support the Milk Cup and visited the National Playday in the Ormeau Park on Wednesday, 1 August. The theme of the roadshow is ‘join in’, aiming to encourage everyone – particularly young people – to be inspired by sport with a long term aim of increasing their participation in the run up to 2012, creating a lasting legacy for the UK. The Roadshow encourages visitors to try a range of activities such as `have a go’ activities, `challenge areas’ and a `pledge area’ where people can commit to achieving specific personal goals that the Games has inspired.
Lord Seb Coe commented: “London 2012 will be a nationwide Games and the Roadshow is only the first part of our pledge to involve everyone the length and breadth of the UK towards, and including, 2012. I am delighted that the Roadshow is able to visit Northern Ireland to demonstrate first hand how this is being undertaken and get the local community involved.
We want to encourage young people to develop their sporting ability, to achieve something for themselves or to inspire others to unearth their own talents. Visiting the London 2012 Roadshow is a great first step to accomplishing this.”
Building on this success, the 2007 Roadshow will this year focus on a key Olympic ambition – encouraging more people to take part in sport – and build on a key Government priority for sport through to 2012 and beyond
The Roadshow will tour the UK throughout the summer – spanning 33 days and 27 events in all nine regions in England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Events start on 15 June at the Greenwich Sportathon and finish on 29 August at Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of disability sport, marking five years to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in 2012.