More Olympic teams set for town

IPSWICH could play host to more than one Olympic team when the 2012 games come to London, it was revealed today.Borough chiefs are confident Azerbaijan will select the town as its base in three years' time after a delegation from the country swept into Suffolk to asses our sporting facilities this week.

IPSWICH could play host to more than one Olympic team when the 2012 games come to London, it was revealed today.

Borough chiefs are confident Azerbaijan will select the town as its base in three years' time after a delegation from the country swept into Suffolk to asses our sporting facilities this week.

However, it has now emerged that the council is in negotiations with a number of other smaller countries - including Barbados - over the possibility of their athletes using Ipswich as a training HQ.

Leisure bosses believe the town would be in line for a significant sporting and economic boost if they can attract 2012 Olympic athletes.


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Councillor Judy Terry, who has been heavily involved in the bid, said Ipswich's infrastructure and facilities were sufficient to support more than one team.

“We are not going to get the USA, Australia or China but we can attract smaller countries,” she said.

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“We have the hotels now and the sports facilities, which are of a high standard.”

The Barbadian Olympic delegation are expected to make a decision on whether to select Ipswich as their pre-games base either later this year or in early 2010.

But Ms Terry said talks were on going with other nations should the move collapse.

She also defended the appointment of an Olympics project manager following criticism elsewhere in the country that the role was a waste of public money.

The leisure portfolio holder said the position in Ipswich, filled by John Stebbings, was an internal appointment and came at no extra cost to the tax-payer.

The six Olympic standard athletes from Azerbaijan along with two of their coaches enjoyed a fact-finding tour of Ipswich yesterday before enjoying training sessions at Northgate Sports Centre and Crown Pools today.

How do you rate Ipswich's sporting facilities? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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