Five Athletics Olympic and Paralympic teams to train in the North
The athletics teams from Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait and Sudan and the Jordanian Paralympic team will train at Antrim Forum during July and August.
Sports Minister, Caral Ní Chuilín has said that five more Olympic and Paralympic teams are planning to train in the North ahead of the London 2012 Games.
The 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 here for Pre-Games Training Camps to eight.
Athletics NI were the key organisation in helping source the countries to come to NI. Local athletes Adam McMullen and Dean Adams were on hand to help launch the event.
During the camp, on the 18th, a meet is planned – with top NI athletes and a Canadian Youth Team along with the Olympic Camp teams. This will be called the Brian Downing Memorial Meet.
One of the “stars” - Abubaker Kaki Khamis is a Sudanese runner who specializes in the 800 metres. He is a two-time World Indoor Champion over the distance and also won gold at the 2007 All-Africa Games. He represented Sudan at the 2008 Summer Olympics. His time of 1.42.23 ranks him 5th fastest man ever over 800m.
Speaking at the Antrim Forum, the Sports 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 saying: “We are extremely pleased to welcome a further five teams toNorthern Irelandfor pre-Olympic training. 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 Sport NI, Government Departments, governing bodies of sport particularly Athletics Northern Ireland and Disability 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 echoed similar comments, “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.”
Gemma McAllister (2012 Young Ambassador for Egypt & attends Antrim Grammar School); Adam McMullan (Athletics NI athlete, long-jump); Dean Adams (Athletics NI athlete, 60m & 100m); John Glover (Athletics NI President); Councillor Paul Michael (Mayor of Antrim Borough Council); Caral Ní Chuilín (Sports Minister); Maeve Kyle OBE (Olympian and Ballymena and Antrim Athletics Club) and Eamonn McCartan, (Chief Exec Sport Northern Ireland). Front: Angela Hendra MBE (Chairperson, Disability Sports NI) with pupils from Maine, Creavery and Ballycraigy Primary Schools.