Otley could be used in Olympics

TOP international equestrian stars could use new state-of-the-art facilities at Otley College to train during the London 2012 Olympics, it was revealed today.

TOP international equestrian stars could use new state-of-the-art facilities at Otley College to train during the London 2012 Olympics, it was revealed today.

The college is spending £8 million on a facelift and work is already under way on a new equine centre which will be one of the best in the county.

It will not host any Olympic events as these will be held in the main arenas in London, but it could used as a training and preparation camp for riders who would then travel to the capital to compete.

The college is also revamping its other sports facilities. It also has medical expertise and media amenities that could be utilised by the International Olympics Committee.

Sport England (East) contacted Otley earlier this year to see if the college's facilities could be used, if the 2012 bid was successful.

Now the games will be coming to the UK, college representatives are hoping Sport England will give Otley the green light to play a small part in making the games live up to its reputation of being "the greatest show on earth".

Most Read

Alison Barber, Otley's horse and sport curriculum manager, has been liaising with Sport England (East).

"It is not impossible that some of the world's best Olympians could base their preparation camps in the Suffolk region in seven years' time," she said

"If this is the case, Otley College would be delighted to help out in anyway we can as sport and education can inspire people of all ages to achieve great things in life.

"By supporting the 2012 Olympics, I believe this will be a positive stride forward not only for the college, but for the region of East Anglia."

Officials at Otley College – which stands on a 12-hectare site in Charity Lane – have drawn up a comprehensive masterplan showing how it will expand over the next five years as student numbers grow.

Most people still think of it as an agricultural college, but today its courses are wide and varied.

The equine centre is an example of diversification in the countryside which has seen equitation and equestrian sports grow as leisure activities, encompassing racing, driving, dressage, horse trials, showjumping and riding for pleasure.

The college currently has about 6,000 sq metres of teaching space. After the first development phase this will increase to 15,782 sq m including a new library an IT centre. For the first time it will take boarders with a 75-bedroom residential block planned.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter