French Guiana put forward as Rio 2016 training base
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
August 15 - French Guiana has unveiled a project it hopes will encourage leading athletes and nations to base themselves in the region prior to the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympics in neighbouring Brazil.
Guiana is an overseas region of France, situated on the North Atlantic coast of South America, bordering with Brazil to the east and Suriname to the west.
The French Government is investing in a series of sport infrastructure developments to provide nations choosing to prepare themselves in the region with the best possible training facilities.
Representatives of the group promoting Guiana – GIP Guyana 2014-2016 – were here at Club France to announce project details.
The group's vice-president is French World Cup winning goalkeeper Bernard Lama, who lives in Guiana.
Also involved in the project are Olympic silver medal winning swimmer Malia Metalla, triple world judo champion Lucie Décosse and Ulrich Robeiri, a Beijing 2008 fencing champion.
With Brazil also hosting the 2014 World Cup, French Guiana is determined to take full advantage of the opportunity.
New stadiums, hotels and a transport network are being developed along with modern facilities to attract top athletes and national teams to Guiana.
"From 2013, the sports world will be following the rhythm of the South American continent," said Guiana 2014-2016 President Roger-Michel Loupec.
"French Guiana, like the Pas de Calais before it, intends to offer sport federations the best possible training and preparation facilities.
"With no time difference, a similar climate, European standard safety conditions and free access to sports facilities, you need look no further.
There is also an international standard athletics track in Rémire-Montjoly, a 10 lane swimming pool in Cayenne, a martial arts hall in Matoury and a water course in Montsinéry for rowers, canoeists and kayakers.
Approximately €35 million (£28 million/$43 million) is being spent over the next three years on the developments.
Lama told insidethegames that teams should base themselves in Guiana because of the natural beauty of the country.
"We have the best conditions...the sun, the beach.
"Our population – we have 84 nationalities in Guiana, it is a force.
"We have also a natural life...when I was young, I lived outside of the house - after school I went to the beach to play football."
He added that they had facilities for any sport, from football to handball and fencing.
The country is also keen to aim its facilities at teams who will play World Cup matches in the north of Brazil in 2014.
Among the facilities in Guiana are two football stadiums in Rémire-Montjoly and Kourou.
January 2012: Pre-Games training camps for Rio 2016 announced
May 2011: Potential training camp cities for Rio 2016 hold meeting