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Past and present Olympians open SportPark

23 June 2011

With just 400 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Games, LOCOG Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe made a return to Loughborough University today (23 June) to open a landmark building for sport.

Former Olympian Lord Coe, a graduate from the University where he trained under the watchful eye of legendary athletics coach George Gandy, was joined by current Olympian and World diving Champion Tom Daley to officially open ‘SportPark’.

SportPark is a state of the art home to many of the country’s top national governing bodies including swimming, volleyball, and wheelchair basketball. They share the building with a number of national sports partners including Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust.

SportPark cost £15million to develop and was funded by the University, with support from Sport England, emda, Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council.

Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis, who presented at the opening ceremony said:

“SportPark provides the perfect environment for national governing bodies and other sports deliverers to work alongside one another to get more people playing sport. As both a funding partner and resident, Sport England is pleased to be part of a sporting hub that is providing state-of-the-art sport facilities to the Midlands.”

Tim Garfield, Deputy Director for Sport at Loughborough University said:

"SportPark resident bodies employ over 1000 people nationwide and there are nearly 400 jobs based here at SportPark. In and around Loughborough there are over 700 jobs with nationally significant roles in sport. Loughborough is a thriving and growing knowledge economy for sport.

“We have national performance centres based here in a range of sports including cricket, athletics and swimming and they are are all now pushing the boundaries in the use of science and technology in the quest for ultimate performance.

“Loughborough is at the heart of sport in this country and SportPark is building on this. Increasingly we are demonstrating by our actions that putting heads and hearts together is a powerful force for innovation and change. SportPark is at the very epicentre of that strategy".

During his time at Loughborough Lord Coe also visited the Torch to Schools project, that was launched the University’s Athletics Centre.

The launch, organised by the Charnwood Sport and Active Recreation Alliance saw 400 primary school children taking part in and opening and closing ceremony, sports activity, and the start of the torch relay that will travel around all of the schools in Charnwood.

The torch, which has been donated by Loughborough College, will embark on a 12-month tour to visit every one of the borough’s 65 schools.

Councillor David Snartt, Charnwood Borough Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said:

“We’re delighted to have secured a torch from the 1948 games to inspire children who could be our future Olympians. It really does bring the past, present and future together in the name of sport.

“Charnwood is playing a central role in the 2012 Games and we want to get as many people as possible in the Borough involved and interested. This torch relay does just that.”

Loughborough University is the official preparation camp headquarters for Team GB and Japan. Visit the London 2012 website to find out more about the University’s activities in the build up to the Games.

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