The University of Bath has welcomed today’s (Thursday) announcement that it has been chosen to host the British Paralympic team’s preparation camps in the build-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
ParalympicsGB athletes, coaches and support staff will attend the preparation camps at the University of Bath’s Claverton campus between now and London 2012, as well as in the immediate lead up to the Games.
ParalympicsGB selected Bath to host its preparation camps in an exhaustive study of eight possible venues that looked at key factors including sports facilities, accommodation and catering.
Bath’s world-class facilities, compact site and sports technical expertise, including its proven track record of providing outstanding physiotherapy, sports science and medical services to elite athletes, were leading factors in support of its bid.
Professor Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that ParalympicsGB have chosen the University of Bath to be their preparation base for London 2012.
“From the moment London’s bid to host 2012 was successful we have been committed to making a meaningful contribution to supporting British athletes ahead of the Games, and this is a significant contribution to that objective.
“We are proud and privileged to have been chosen to host the British team and we look forward to working with the British Paralympic Association on all fronts, including sports science research.
“We know that both the University and the City of Bath will roll out the red carpet and make our British Paralympic athletes feel at home,” she added. “We will also strive to ensure that Bath’s selection to host the British team will leave a lasting legacy for disability sport in the area.”
Ged Roddy, Director of Sport at the University of Bath, said: “We are honoured to be chosen to host the British Paralympic team ahead of 2012.
“The British Paralympic team have been outstandingly successful at recent Games and we aim to provide them with a strong platform to continue that success at London 2012.”
The ParalympicsGB team have finished second in the overall medals table at each of the last three Paralympic Games. They won 102 medals at the Beijing 2008 Games, 42 of which were gold. That performance was only bettered by the host nation.
Phil Lane, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “Research has shown that these camps are crucial to the team’s final preparation.
“Athletes settle into the multi-sport environment more quickly and have the best possible support services. It means that they can go into the Games well-prepared for the challenge ahead.
“We have been successful at the past four Games and we know that other nations would love to topple us on our home patch,” he added. “They are investing heavily so we are absolutely focussed on taking the best-prepared team to reach our target of second in the medal table with more medals across more sports.
“Our preparation camps for Beijing played a vital role in securing our success and we are convinced that with Bath as a partner we can raise the bar in everything we do.”
Penny Briscoe, Performance Director of ParalympicsGB, added: “The Bath bid stood out not just because of the facilities on offer at the Sports Training Village and the ability to create a secure environment where athletes can focus solely on their training, but also because of their desire to partner with us across a wide range of our operations from Talent Identification, Sports Science and Medicine and Coaching.
“That work will begin right now and we believe will carry on post 2012 leaving a lasting legacy for British Paralympic sport.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: “The South West has excellent sporting facilities which can help the team prepare well for their competitions at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“Previous athletes have shown how much they have benefited from pre-Games training camps and it’s fantastic to know that many more will get the opportunity to do so in the next three years.”
Bath MP Don Foster, Shadow Minister for Sport for the Liberal Democrats, said he was delighted by today’s announcement.
“The University of Bath has built a reputation for sporting excellence and I’m delighted that this has been recognised by ParalympicsGB. I’m sure that the whole city will share my pride and excitement that Bath will be a cornerstone of the British team’s preparation for London 2012 and will warmly welcome our outstanding Paralympians.”
The first athletes to use the ParalympicsGB preparation camps at the University of Bath will arrive in late 2009. Further larger scale multi-sports camps will be held in 2010 and 2011 before Bath becomes the main springboard for athletes in their final preparation weeks for 2012. They will attend the final camps in Bath before moving to the Games Village.
Team Bath, the sports brand at the University of Bath, has a strong track record in working with some of the country’s most talented Paralympic athletes.
Ben Rushgrove, silver medallist in the T36 100m at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, trains at the University of Bath, where he is also a student.
Swimmer Liz Johnson, who last week broke the short course world record for the SB6 100m breaststroke, switched her training to the University of Bath just over a month ago. Liz won the gold medal in the SB6 100m breaststroke at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games after taking silver in Athens four years earlier.
University of Bath students Katrina Hart and Kate Grey also competed at the Beijing 2008 Games. Sprinter Hart finished seventh in the T37 100m at the Games while Grey came fifth in the SB9 100m breaststroke final. Another swimmer training at Bath, Dave Hill, missed the Beijing Games but competed at the 2004 Games in Athens as a 15-year-old.
Darren Harris, a visually-impaired judo player who was a member of the British judo team in Beijing, also trains at the University of Bath. Last week he won bronze at the European Championships in Hungary.
Members of the media who require further information can contact the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 383518 or 01225 443998 or the University of Bath Press Office on 01225 386285 or 01225 386883.