Olympians to train in Co Antrim
Five more Olympic and Paralympic teams are planning to train in Northern Ireland ahead of the London 2012 Games, it has been announced.
Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said athletics teams from Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait and Sudan and the Jordanian Paralympic team will train at Antrim Forum during July and August. This brings the number of countries who have confirmed they are coming to Northern Ireland for Pre-Games Training Camps to eight.
Paralympics Ireland, the Australian boxing team and the Chinese artistic gymnastics team have already confirmed that they will train here ahead of the Games.
The minister said: "I am delighted that five more teams have decided to use our superb facilities for training camps in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
"So far eight countries have confirmed that they will train here. Confidential negotiations are still ongoing with a number of other countries who are considering holding training camps here.
"To have world class Olympic and Paralympic athletes train in Antrim is tremendous and something the Antrim Forum and the wider community should be proud of."
Dominic Walsh, chair of SportNI welcomed the announcement. "We are extremely pleased to welcome a further five teams to Northern Ireland for pre-Olympic training," he said.
"Our local athletes and young people will be able to watch at close hand high performance athletes and get a real feel for the Games locally.
"This announcement today is further testament to the superb partnership approach between SportNI, government departments, governing bodies of sport and local councils, which is ensuring that Northern Ireland has a tremendous calendar of activity in the run-up to the Games".
Mayor of Antrim, councillor Paul Michael, said: "We feel very privileged that Antrim Forum has been chosen as the training venue for these Olympic and Paralympic athletes and it's a fantastic opportunity to showcase its world-class facilities. We look forward to welcoming the teams as they prepare for the biggest event in their sporting career."