altMarch 23 - Malaysia is planning to set up high performance centres at two leading British universities to help them prepare for the London 2012 Olympics, starting later this year, insidethegames can exclusively reveal.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is due to be signed next month with both Bath and Loughborough and Malaysia hopes to start sending over its athletes to train at the centres by as early as August.

The National Sports Institute's (NSI) director-general Dr Ramlan Abd Aziz said that they had been chosen because of their worldwide reputation for sports science.

Aziz visited both universities earlier this month to inspect the facilities before returning home to make his recommendations.

He said: "In line with the Ministry's hopes to win Olympic gold medal, we will send athletes there.

"After the MoU is signed in April, our athletes can be sent to either universities by the end of the year, or earliest by August or September."

Competitors from badminton, archery and cycling - the three sports Malaysia plan to concentrate on for 2012 - will be among the first to be sent over to England to prepare.

The Malaysian Government have made winning the country's first Olympic gold medal in London a major priority.

The South East Asian country, which gained independence from Britain in 1957, finished 74th in the medals table in Beijing with the silver medal badmionton player Lee Chong Wei won in the men's singles, the fourth Olympic medal won by a Malaysian player since the sport was introduced in 1992.

The deals with Bath and Loughborough ends a long and controversial search by Malaysia to find somewhere to prepare in Britain for London 2012.

An original plan to set up a camp at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre in Brickendonbury, London was blocked by East Herts Council Development Control Committee.

The NSI then held discussions with Marlborough College before they broke down.

Malaysia are the second Asian country to commit themselves to Loughborough, the Leicestershire university where London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe studied.

As insidethegames revealed exclusively in December, Japan also plan to use Loughborough.

The University of Bath have established an enviable record in recent years for its sporting success under Ged Roddy, their sporting director.

A number of sports are based there, including Modern Pentathlon and triathlon, while Malcolm Arnold, the former coach of Colin Jackson and Jason Gardener, oversees a high-profile athletics group.

Both Loughborough and Bath were among centres originally short-listed by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to be the pre-Games training camp for London 2012 but were overlooked in favour of Aldershot.