Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Sports in Northern Ireland get £6m boost

Sports in Northern Ireland were awarded £6 million today in a bid to develop a new generation of stars.

A further £7.2 million could be directed into the project if the first two years produce results, according to government delivery body Sport NI.

Football, cricket, gaelic games, hockey and rugby are among the 35 sports to share out the cash.

Sport NI Chief Executive Eamonn McCartan said the investment would help create a world class system for developing athletic talent.

"Sport Northern Ireland has worked hard to ensure that our investment in performance sport delivers value for money and, most importantly, results," he said.

"We believe that our partnership approach with the governing bodies of sports will bring us closer to establishing a world class system for athlete development consisting of services, facilities and competition following the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

"Together, we are building the firm foundations of a world class sporting system."

Each sport has developed a plan on how to increase the region's talent pool.

Some of the allocations and plans include:

  • £300,000 - Cricket Ireland aims to become the 8th best One Day International team by 2013 by increasing teenager participation in the sport by 5% each year.
  • £440,000 - The Irish Football Association will employ six county excellence managers to ensure facilities and structures are in place to nurture talent across the country.
  • £480,000 - The Ulster Council of the GAA will roll out an initiative to increase participation in the urban areas.
  • £375,000 - Ulster Rugby aims to get 10% more men and women playing the game by 2013.

The investment decisions follow a four-month period of engagement with the sports and an assessment focused on achieving performance outcomes.

Mr McCartan added: "A world class system will mean professional and accountable organisations, sport club members experiencing sport in a quality and safe environment, more coaches, better methods of identifying talent, and athletes benefiting from new levels of scientific and medical support.

"This will be a tough challenge, but with this investment in performance sport and partnership working, we believe it can be done."

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