Many of Northern Ireland’s best sporting venues have made the grade and will be included in the London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) announced that 27 venues in Northern Ireland will be included in the guide, to be published at this year’s games in Beijing. The guide lists over 600 high-quality sports facilities across the UK which are capable of hosting visiting teams or individual athletes wishing to take part in the 2012 Games.
Sports Minister Edwin Poots MLA welcomed the announcement at Lisnagarvey Hockey club, one of the venues chosen to appear in the guide. The Minister said “We have some very high-quality facilities in Northern Ireland and I am very pleased to see them recognised and included in the Pre-Games Training Camp Guide. Our venues are a match to those in the rest of the UK and we should be very proud of what we can offer to the rest of the world.
“I want to see a legacy from the Olympic Games that will last far beyond 2012. We can use this opportunity to boost our sporting infrastructure, promote Northern Ireland as a tourist destination and prepare for the forthcoming World Police and Fire Games in 2013.”
Earlier today, the Minister visited Andersonstown Leisure Centre, to congratulate them on their success in being one of the 27 sports venues to appear in the guide, “Inclusion in this guide highlights the real benefits Northern Ireland can derive from the London 2012 games and indeed, how we can get involved at a grass-roots and elite level.”
The guide will be circulated to all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs). These organisations will then decide where they base themselves or where to send individual athletes to prepare and acclimatise for London 2012.
The Minister continued “We still have some way to go to ensure we can get teams to Northern Ireland. There is fierce competition among the venues and it is up to the regions and venues to sell their wares and make sure they stand out from the crowd.”
LOCOG is offering a financial award of up to Â£25,000 to NOCs / NPCs to help encourage teams to base themselves in the UK.
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee, commented “The process we have been through shows a great spread of high quality facilities throughout the UK that can be used by elite level athletes and the online website can continue to be used after the games to locate sporting facilities. We said that we wanted the London Games to be for athletes, and the facilities listed in this guide will really help overseas athletes prepare well. It also provides a great opportunity for towns throughout the UK to get involved in our plans.”