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Sporting first for Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 00:56 17 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

LEGENDARY Olympic swimmer Karen Pickering today took on a new role – as sporting ambassador for her home town.

Karen, who has represented Britain at four Olympic games, is believed to be the first local authority-appointed sporting ambassador in the country.

LEGENDARY Olympic swimmer Karen Pickering today took on a new role – as sporting ambassador for her home town.

Karen, who has represented Britain at four Olympic games, is believed to be the first local authority-appointed sporting ambassador in the country.

In her new role she will be visiting schools, businesses, and community organisations in a bid to boost Ipswich's sporting profile.

And she will also be hoping to attract new investment for the areas' sporting facilities.

As sporting ambassador she will be a key player in a borough council team which aims to use sport as a way of attracting new people to the Town, and combating anti-social behaviour throughout the borough.

Council Leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry said: "We have seen that where there are organised sporting events for young people, incidents of anti social behaviour fall significantly.

"We are hoping to extend the opportunities for people of all ages to take part in sporting events, and Karen's role will allow this to happen."

Ipswich could have a major role to play if London is granted the 2012 Olympic games. The decision is expected to be announced on July 6.

Karen said: "If London gets the games Ipswich will be in a prime position to attract some of the teams who will be preparing in the run up to the events.

"We don't really want to think like this, but even if Paris wins Ipswich will be quite well placed because it won't be that far away – but we're all hoping that London will come out victorious."

Karen said the opportunity to take a leading role in her home town was one she felt she couldn't walk away from.

"Ever since I moved here as a 16-year-old in the late 1980's the Town and the council has been incredibly supportive towards me and my career.

"Now I feel I am in a position to put something back, to repay something. I hope to be able to work with the council to boost sport throughout the Town."

Sports Development Officer Adam Baker said Karen's new role would be supplemented by the appointment of two new community sports coaches, with a third one possibly being appointed at a later date.

These new appointments should help the borough to boost sport and be able to show people thinking of moving to the Town what a lot it had to offer.

Council Chief Executive James Hehir said the borough was also hoping to push the Team Ipswich brand which would give all sports based in the Town a common identity and a feeling that they could share in each other's success.


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