12 June 2008
Canada may use Sheffield for Olympic training
Source: The Yorkshire Post 28 May 2008
Canadian athletes may be travelling to Sheffield to train ahead of the London Olympics in 2012 after team bosses were impressed by what they saw on a trip to South Yorkshire.
The delegation was taken to Sheffield by SportsPulse, an European-funded organisation which is aiming to raise the city's sporting profile and draw attention to its world-class facilities.
Canada is a leading nation in a range of sports including diving, triathlon, canoeing and synchronised swimming and its director of Olympic preparation Derek Covington said he was surprised at what Sheffield had to offer.
He added: "I am impressed by the facilities here and those at the English Institute of Sport and how there is a cluster of sports facilities in Sheffield."
Mr Covington was accompanied by Mitch Geller, the Canadian's elite performance manager, who also attended the FINA Diving World series held at Ponds Forge.
Mr Geller said: "I was almost in a state of shock at the amount of sports infrastructure here because of the initiative required to put it into place. That in itself speaks quite strongly of Sheffield's credibility in trying to make that all work in one city. The diving was a slick and flawless operation and one of the best hosted events on the world circuit."
During their visit, the two men met Olympic silver medal-winning diver Leon Taylor, who is based in Sheffield and one of SportsPulse's ambassadors for the city. He showed the Canadian delegation around the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, ICE Sheffield, Don Valley Stadium and the English Institute of Sport, and talked to them about how the facilities could be used in preparation for major sporting competitions.
Yuri Matschen, who is managing SportsPulse's international training camps programme, said: "We are delighted to be welcoming representatives from the Canadian National Olympic Committee to Sheffield.
"Canada is a successful sporting nation and one that ranks amongst the top in the world at several sports. Its sporting success over the years has made it a major player on the world stage and to attract them ahead of 2012 to use our facilities in Sheffield would be a real boost to the city."
SportsPulse has already held successful international training camps for the Saudi Arabian wheelchair athletes, the Norwegian and Danish volleyball teams and the Bermudian national women's basketball team.
SportsPulse director David Curtis said: "As well as hosting major sporting competitions, Sheffield is perfectly placed to offer excellent preparation facilities for athletes.
"Through such visits, we will highlight to national decision-makers and sporting chiefs that Sheffield has everything needed to host high quality training camps in a wide range of sports for the London 2012 Games.
"We hope the Canadian delegation will be impressed by what they see at our venues and want to bring their sporting stars to the city over the next four years. We hope it is the start of a great relationship between Sheffield and Canada," he added.
Gary Clifton, Sheffield City Council's head of major events, who helped to welcome the Canadians to the city, said he thought the visit was a positive one and Sheffield had made a good impression.
He said: "I think it went very well and pleasing that one of the foremost Olympic and Paralympic nations has come to the city to see what we can offer. I'd like to thank SportsPulse for helping to attract the Canadians to Sheffield."