Exclusive: Sports Minister looks to promote London 2012 success abroad

Friday, 09 November 2012
By Tom Degun

Hugh-Robertson-1November 9 - Britain's Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson has embarked on the first of several foreign visits that he will use to promote the huge success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games internationally.

Robertson, who became Sports Minister when the Coalition Government came to power in 2010, gained widespread plaudits for his role in helping London stage arguably the greatest Games in history.

His foreign visits this month will see him visit Sochi, which will host the next Winter Games in 2014, and Rio, which will host the next Summer Games in 2016.

He will then travel to Qatar, the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, early next month.

"One of the objectives we have set ourselves is to really try and leverage the success of London 2012 internationally," Robertson told insidethegames shortly before flying to Sochi.

"I've got three big trips in the next month and the first in Russia is largely about the London to Sochi handover where we a looking at what we can do to help with Sochi and discuss how we can leverage that relationship onto the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

"We know a bit about building stadiums in this country so perhaps we can leverage that in Russia in both sporting and business terms.

"Then in two weeks' time, it is Rio for the London 2012 debrief and that is about the Brazil-UK sporting relationship that is growing and deepening all the time.

"We are both understanding better now that the Rio Games needs to have the vibrancy and colour and brilliance of Brazil but we also want to bring to Rio the lessons we have learned with London.

"There are two parts of the Rio handover process.

"The London 2012 Organising Committee is up first with their transfer of knowledge and then there is the Government to Government handover.

"Seb Coe [the London 2012 chairman] is heavily involved in all of this as the Government's Olympic legacy ambassador and he will use the opportunities he has got to send out our message abroad.

"After that, both Seb and I are in Qatar for the Doha Goals summit in the beginning of December.

"Clearly, Qatar is a very exciting market for us.

"My instinct is that Qatar will be bidding for a lot of sporting events in the coming years and we want not only to put our expertise at their disposal but also to make sure that the relationship between us and Qatar is really strengthened around sport."

Hugh Robertson with Seb CoeHugh Robertson (left) will be supported by Sebastian Coe (right) in his bid to promote the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games internationally

Robertson added that there will be a continuing focus on spreading the London 2012 success story next year in different parts of the world.

"Going into next year, we want to go back and strengthen many of the markets we focused on last year with the likes of Australia, India, China and Japan," he said.

"But for this year, the focus is Russia, Brazil and Qatar and that makes perfect sense given the international sporting landscape following London 2012."

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