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15.07.05
Hopes For Olympics Business

The South West could be set to reap big economic benefits from the UK's successful 2012 Olympics bid.

With Weymouth earmarked to host the Olympic sailing events it is hoped athletes and visitors will both visit Cornwall and use it for training.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said that London's selection for the prestigious event was a huge chance to build on the economic regeneration activity being enjoyed by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

"There are huge opportunities for the South West to play an important part during the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games to be staged in London, Weymouth and other venues," said Ms Kelemen.

"Many regions of my home country Australia, no matter the distance, benefited from the Olympics when they were held there because athletes were training and acclimatising in Australia for up to two years in advance.

"I hope the South West can do the same with its top class sailing facilities for instance already geared up for Olympic standard athletes."

As well as its long and proud rugby heritage, Cornwall is well known for its medal winning sailors and others involved in watersports. Ben Ainslie, Olympic gold medal winning sailor trained at Restronguet Yacht Club, Mylor Bridge, near Falmouth. Other Olympic athletes from Cornwall include Ed Coode, who won gold in the coxless fours in Athens.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of South West Tourism, underlined Ms Kelemen's comments saying the tourist industry could also benefit.

He said: "During the run up to and during the Sydney Olympics, the Gold Coast was a major beneficiary for both training camps and tourism even though it's over 300 miles form Sydney. By working with South West Tourism and Visit Britain to present our potential for training camps and iconic tourism assets such as the Eden Project, Cornwall can gain real significant benefits from the London 2012 successful bid."

Jonathan Griffin, Director of National Maritime Museum Cornwall said he hoped Falmouth could host one of the training camps for Olympic athletes.

He said: "We've been celebrating the Olympics for months now with Olympic medal-winning boats from Shirley Robertson, Ben Ainslie and the rowing eight, amongst others. Our 2004 'Will to Win' exhibition was dedicated to showcasing our Olympic achievements and we'll certainly be looking at developing another Olympic exhibition for 2012.

"Winning the bid was a magnificent achievement; now we need to make it happen. The Museum is very keen to play a leading role in ensuring that Falmouth makes its contribution – perhaps as a training camp for the event itself. We have all the facilities that are needed. Our aim has always been to encourage more people onto the water and if the Olympics help us to do this, then the whole country will be winners."

There is also a theory that surfing will be designated as a sport in 2012 Olympics.

Paul Wright, Head of Tourism at Restormel Borough Council, said: "It is superb news and I think the South West can benefit not only from the people visiting London who will want to explore further but from watersports.

"If surfing is designated we would hope they choose our area because we have invested in that sport, partly using Objective One, for facilities such as the Fistral Surf Centre. There are then the associated sports such as windsurfing and body boarding that people could become interested in."

For further information please contact the Objective One Communications Team.
Tel: 01872 223439/07973 813647
Email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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Editor's notes:

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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