New pool will boost Olympic hopes

IPSWICH'S hopes of hosting a national team in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics would be massively boosted by a new 50metre pool, one of England's sporting greats said today.

IPSWICH'S hopes of hosting a national team in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics would be massively boosted by a new 50metre pool, one of England's sporting greats said today.

Olympic Gold medallist David Hemery CBE backed the proposal to build a new pool complex in the centre of the town and said it could make all the difference in convincing a national team to set up camp here.

The 1968 400m hurdles champion said: “If that is given the thumbs up then there is more likelihood of drawing a larger number of people here.

“A team would not come for a 25metre pool so the new pool would strengthen your hand considerably.”


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Hemery, who took gold at the Mexico Games and followed it up with a bronze and silver at the 1972 Munich Olympics, visited Ipswich to hear about the town's preparations for the London Games.

He held talks with key figures from Team Ipswich, Ipswich Borough Council's project to boost sport in the town.

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After the meeting the British Olympic Association vice chairman said: “There's so much more potential here than most people would expect.

“I was really impressed with the quality of what was being shown today. They've got a very, very good offering here.”

However he said the lack of a 50metre pool would hold the town back in its hopes of securing a full national team, rather than athletes from specific sports like gymnastics, to base itself here before the Games.

Ipswich Borough Council wants to build the new 50metre pool and associated leisure complex as part of a £12million development in Portman Road. The idea is in its early stages but the pool would replace the crumbling Crown Pools complex.

Hemery, 62, was one of ten Olympic Gold medallists who lobbied for votes for London in the hours before the International Olympic Committee's decision to hand the capital the right to stage the 2012 Games.

He has now turned his attention to ensuring that sport in England is boosted by the staging of the Games and he commended Team Ipswich on its efforts to create a sports foundation and its campaign to ensure Suffolk has an involvement in London's big event.

He said: “Team Ipswich is something which in my experience is unique and would be a model for other parts of the UK.”

WEBLINK

www.teamipswich.com

www.olympics.org.uk

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