PM: Team GB is for the whole of UK
Published 01/08/2012 | 11:22
Northern Ireland is a central part of the UK's Olympic efforts despite its absence from the Team GB title, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
He visited the home club in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, of one of the UK's top rowers as Alan Campbell reached the final in his bid for Olympics glory.
The premier spoke to officials and athletes at the Bann Rowing Club and later met one of the young prospects who lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.
The club also boasts Coleraine-born brothers Peter and Richard Chambers, who helped power the lightweight men's four rowers into Thursday's final and a shot at gold.
Mr Cameron said: "Team GB is a team for the whole of the United Kingdom. There are some fantastic athletes from Northern Ireland taking part."
He visited Coleraine, before going on to also see the Giant's Causeway attraction, and said he was keen to emphasise the Northern Ireland role in the Games.
"Not only are there great Northern Ireland athletes taking part in the Olympics, but also every part of our United Kingdom is benefiting from the Olympics."
He praised torch bearers who carried the Olympic flame through Northern Ireland, saying: "Our country is a small country that does big things. The UK is a country that can deliver, that can get things done, that can put on an incredible show, that can make people feel proud to be British and above all can provide an inspiration for future generations."
The Prime Minister met Katie Kirk, 18, a 400m athlete who is a future Olympic hopeful and was nominated by Dame Mary Peters to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony, at a civic reception in Coleraine.
He also met a series of torch bearers from Northern Ireland, among thousands who carried it around the UK. He added: "The Olympic Games is something not just for London, not just for England, it is something for the whole of the UK and it really brings it home to me coming here to Coleraine and seeing the amazing contribution you are making to our rowing."