Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Dervock’s Olympian ambitions

Could Paula Radcliffe end up pounding the streets of Dervock in a bid to win Olympic gold in 2012?

That’s the hope of Ballymoney councillor Ian Stevenson who has launched an audacious bid to have an Olympic event staged in the north Antrim town in 2012 — a century after local hero KK McArthur took gold at the games.

The DUP man said it would be “a dream come true” to have world famous athletes — such as Radcliffe — tread the borough's roads with millions watching on television across the world.

And he has personally invited Olympics minister Tessa Jowell to Ballymoney and the nearby village of Dervock — home of 1912 Olympic gold medalist Kennedy Kane (KK) McArthur — to show her what they have to offer.

“It may be too late as many of the venues may have already been chosen but nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Mr Stevenson said. “I would like to see a marathon or some other running event held locally.”

Mr Stevenson recently attended a government conference in London regarding the 2012 Olympic Games and while he was there he extended his invite to the minister.

“I said to her that Northern Ireland was one of the main supporters of the Olympic bid and that I felt we were being passed over in many regards.

“I then told her of KK McArthur who went to the Olympics in Sweden in 1912 and won gold. I said he meant a lot to us and it would be fitting if an event could be staged in his birthplace.

“She said the Olympic Organising Committee had been over but she hadn't as yet so I invited her.”

Mr Stevenson said north Antrim was the ideal venue for a marathon or another running event. “We could easily stage a marathon for example which would be a fitting tribute to KK McArthur who is held in such high esteem. We have a beautiful coastline nearby which could be incorporated as well.”

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