School helps training for Olympics

A SUFFOLK school has today emerged as one of the secret weapons in Ipswich's bid to lure international sporting teams to train in the town before the 2012 Olympics.

A SUFFOLK school has today emerged as one of the secret weapons in Ipswich's bid to lure international sporting teams to train in the town before the 2012 Olympics.

Sports chiefs heading the Team Ipswich project have teamed up with the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook to list the school as one of the venues which international sports stars could use for their preparation for the London Games.

By 2012 the school will have undergone a major refurbishment and will offer 650-bed accommodation in state-of-the-art facilities.

Managers of sporting venues across the area have been briefed about the school's willingness to act as a base for teams and they are hopeful the prospect of setting up a training camp away from the eyes of the public will be a boost for Ipswich's hopes.

Don Topley, from the school, said: “We are very fortunate that we have a purpose-built 200-acre site. We have 11 boarding houses which in 2012 will all have been completely refurbished.”

Team Ipswich has now submitted its list of accredited training venues to the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in time for this week's deadline.

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It includes 16 venues ranging from the Ipswich Gymnastics Centre - which is considered the town's best chance because it is already used by top teams from around the world for training and competition - to less well known venues like Otley College's equestrian facility.

The list will be scrutinised by LOCOG to make sure venues are up to international standard and between now and the 2012 Olympics teams will be able to inspect facilities to determine if they want to set up pre-Games camps in Suffolk.

Ipswich is hoping to lure one major international team with athletes across a number of sports but one or a number of small teams, with athletes in even just one sport, would still be seen as a boon for the town.

The Royal Hospital School's participation could depend on when a team wants to base itself here because pupils use the accommodation during term time but Mr Topley said it was being investigated seriously.

“The school would be extremely proud to be associated with the 2012 Olympics,” he said.

“The mere fact people would be staying there would be a great honour.”

WEBLINK

www.royalhospitalschool.org

www.teamipswich.com

www.london2012.org

The potential worth of London 2012 to East Anglia as a whole has been estimated to be in excess of £600million.

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