County would benefit from Olympic Games

By Roddy AshworthA SUCCESSFUL bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games in London would bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to Essex.Revamped sporting facilities, thousands of jobs and a huge boom in tourism throughout the county would follow if the competition was held in the UK.

By Roddy Ashworth

A SUCCESSFUL bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games in London would bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to Essex.

Revamped sporting facilities, thousands of jobs and a huge boom in tourism throughout the county would follow if the competition was held in the UK.

The announcement came as the East of England officially launched its backing of the bid to host the Olympics in eight years' time.


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London has been selected as one of the five candidate cities to host the 2012 Olympic Games, along with Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow.

If it wins, people living in Essex would be less than an hour's train ride away from the proposed Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, where the main competition venues will be.

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Stephen Castle, Essex County Council cabinet member and chairman of the Essex Olympic Committee, said as well as some non-track and field events being held in the county, there was also a tremendous potential for international training camps being built there.

"Essex will be right on the edge of the games. Companies and workers will be needed to fill the thousands and thousands of jobs generated," he added.

"It's not just the two weeks during which the games are held. There is a four-year cultural process leading up to them. There will be a whole generation of children growing up with the games on their doorstep.

"There is a huge potential for training camps, with national teams coming in bringing a big chunk of investment.

"Sports facilities in the county will have to be improved and people visiting from abroad will not only want to watch the games, but also travel and see the rest of the country."

Mr Castle made his comments after the EDF Energy London 2012 "leap counter" visited Chelmsford on Saturday to coincide with the East of England launch.

Members of the public were encouraged to show their support for the games by jumping through the archway, which automatically records every leap.

Regional organisations also backing the Olympic bid include the Office for the East of England, East of England Development Agency, East of England Regional Assembly, Sport England East, Living East, East of England Tourist Board and the Association of Universities in the East of England.

Chris White, speaking on behalf the East of England Regional Assembly, said: "Now is the time for councils, businesses and local communities to register their support for bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London in 2012.

"Hosting the Games in Britain will have tremendous benefits for the East of England and the country as a whole, but the bid will only be successful with strong public support."

A number of representatives from the supporting organisations also attended Saturday's launch as well as Essex 800-metre Gold medallist Danny Crates, the Paralympic champion and world record-holder in the arm amputee class.

The announcement of which city will host the 2012 Olympics will be made in July next year.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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