Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Olympics and Aldershot - the facts

A copy of a brief sent to councillors from the Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council:

Dear Councillors

There has been some speculation in the national press and a number of specialist magazines this week regarding the BOA's plans for their 2012 Training & Preparation Camp. This has now been picked up by the Aldershot News and is likely to appear in this week's edition.

The first important point to make is that the press speculation is incorrect. For example, in an article in the Daily Telegraph it was suggested that the BOA have "dumped" their plans for a training camp in Aldershot. This is simply not the case currently.

It is true that the BOA are facing some enormous challenges caused in part by the fact that funding is now allocated direct by UK Sports to the individual elite sports and not via the BOA which means that the BOA have less direct control as the individual sports can choose their own training venues. As a result, some are choosing to stay at their current UK high-performance centres or are choosing to go abroad away from the media glare and potential distractions.

This is not in any way a reflection on Aldershot which was chosen in preference to other prestigious venues due to its quality facilities and the professional support services available.

We were aware during the bid that a number of Olympic sports would remain in their current centres - the best examples being cycling at the Manchester Veladrome, sailing in Portland, rowing at Eton Dorney and swimming at Loughborough. There has also been a great deal of publicity over the past months about the track and field sports' decision to go abroad.

The BOA is currently reviewing its options and, as I have already stated, have not yet made a decision and Aldershot still features in their considerations.

The Army, ASPIRE and ourselves, have made clear that we remain committed to our original bid and are keen to continue working with the BOA and further meetings are being arranged in the near future.

While it is clearly disappointing and there is some uncertainty, the fact that Aldershot was chosen as the preferred Team GB Preparation Camp in February last year resulted in extensive media coverage which has considerably enhanced the image of the area.

This success has enabled us to attract over £1000,000 to support the Be The Best Programme at both Cove and Connaught Schools with Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell meeting the pupils last month.

We have also received £6M to develop the Runways End Youth Adventure Centre, which reflects in part its proximity to the Army Centre of Sporting Excellence and potential BOA Training Camp.

The Garrison has subsequently hosted the Olympic boxing team and triathlon squads, and pupils from Samuel Cody Special Needs School were guests at a reception held at Wentworth for the South East medallists from the Beijing Olympics.

The improvements to the sports facilities at the Garrison are still on schedule including a new athletics surface, third synthetic hockey pitch and a new boxing and martial arts centre.

We are also working with the County to make the most of the Cultural Olympiad which, along with all the above initiatives, will ensure a lasting legacy for our residents.

I will ensure that you are kept fully informed of developments as the story continues to unfold.

Andrew Lloyd

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