Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Venues Vie for Games; 19 Listed as Contenders for 2012 Olympics

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Venues Vie for Games; 19 Listed as Contenders for 2012 Olympics

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James and Neil McKay

NINETEEN sports venues in the North East have been confirmed as potential Olympic training camps for the 2012 Games.

Ranging from Gateshead Stadium to Hartlepool Marina and Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club, they will be included in an official guide to the Games that will be distributed to all the nations competing in this year's Beijing Olympics.

Clubs, committees and councils will now be hoping to pull in international athletes from sports including football, judo, fencing, wrestling and archery.

Yesterday former world boxing champion Glenn McCrory, whose Newcastle boxing school is among the 19, revealed he is close to tying the famous Cuban boxing team to a North East training camp. He set up the Newbiggin Hall school in 2006, has already brought Cuban coaches to Tyneside and is returning to the Caribbean for more talks. Twenty venues were put forward as training camps by development agency One NorthEast, though Consett's proposed Sports Village missed out.

Mr McCrory said: "It's fantastic news and it's all systems go now. We've put a lot of hard work in to take this from nothing to a stage where we're going to probably host the greatest boxing nation on Earth.

"I'm going back to Cuba in May and we're very hopeful that we'll have them here, and I'm in talks with a couple of South American teams as well. I want some kids in the region to be competing with them, but I also wanted to bring somebody here so they could see where they can get if they work hard."

Sunderland's new pounds 20m Aquatic Centre is on the list, and city council leader Bob Symonds said: "This is a fantastic coup for Sunderland and the region and we're looking forward to showcasing Sunderland Aquatic Centre's superb facilities to global audiences."

As well as Gateshead Stadium, the leisure centre is listed, and council chiefs yesterday said it could be revamped. Cabinet culture member Linda Green said: "This is a fantastic day for Gateshead. Our investment in top quality facilities for sports has really paid dividends. Over the years since 1955, the Gateshead International Stadium has progressed from a cinder track to a top quality, hi tech facility complete with some of the best facilities in the country. …

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