China choose Leeds as base for 2012 training
Saturday 13 August 2011
Leeds has been selected as the official training base for China's athletes ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
About 300 athletes, coaches and support staff representing China in at least 11 sports will be based in the city as they acclimatise to conditions.
The initial benefit from hosting the team is expected to be a minimum of £250,000. The leader of Leeds Council, Keith Wakefield, said it was "a historic and magnificent achievement" for the city.
A deal had previously been announced in March for Leeds to be the training base for the China track and field team. Now Chinese officials have decided to make the city their official European pre-Games headquarters for their Olympic programme.
The athletes coming to Leeds will be representing their country in mountain biking, fencing, modern pentathlon, athletics, swimming, women's water polo, women's handball, women's hockey, table tennis, boxing and tae kwon do.
The majority of sportsmen and women will be based in accommodation at the University of Leeds.
They will train in facilities at the city's two universities as well as the John Charles Centre for Sport and venues further afield such as Dalby Forest for mountain biking, Bishop Burton near Beverley for modern pentathlon and Wakefield for hockey.
Among the athletes expected to train in Leeds will be 100m hurdler Liu Xiang, who is among the favourites to win gold in London.
The agreement is expected to provide a major long-term boost to trade and tourism as well as strengthening cultural ties with China.
"For China to choose Leeds as their official pre-Games European base is a phenomenal honour," Wakefield said, "and its effect will go way beyond the financial benefit or simply raising the profile of our city."
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and chair of Yorkshire Gold, added: "We see China as a significant long-term investment."
Brighton vs Arsenal: FA Cup match preview
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Sam Burgess: Bath and England's next big thing
Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners