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New statue honours Dame Mary Peters

A new statue of Northern Ireland's Olympic golden girl has been officially unveiled in Belfast.

Dame Mary Peters has been immortalised in bronze at the track built in her honour after her success at the 1972 Munich games.

The new sculpture by John Sherlock was gifted to Belfast City Council and shows the pentathlete's famous wave to the crowd from the podium top spot.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Mairtin O Muilleoir said: "It was her success at the 1972 Olympics that was responsible for the original development of the Mary Peters Track and it is her continued commitment to athletics, to developing and supporting young people and encouraging them to be the best they can be which resonates today.

"Her inspiration together with the hard work and commitment of Belfast City Council can help this excellent facility produce future Olympic and Paralympics athletes who will, one day, bring more medals home to Belfast."

Lord Seb Coe and Paralympic sprinter Jason Smith were at the launch in south Belfast on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mary Peters track was recently re-opened after a £3 million upgrade ahead of the World Police and Fire Games in August.

Dame Mary said she was delighted it would continue to serve the community.

"I congratulate and thank the Belfast City Council for their investment which I am sure will contribute to the future sporting success of athletes from Belfast and Northern Ireland," she said.

"I am delighted that Belfast has a truly world-class facility that will serve both current and future generations of young athletes for many years to come."

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