By Nick Butler

Fitness First have become the first ever Official Fitness Partner of the BOA ©Fitness FirstFitness First, one of the largest global health brands in the world, has been unveiled as the first ever "Official Fitness Partner" of the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Since the first club opened in 1993 in Bournemouth, Fitness First have grown to operating in 377 worldwide locations reaching more than 990,000 members in 16 countries, with 76 of these clubs in Great Britain.

The company therefore seem an appropriate choice to help the BOA in their efforts to boost sporting participation levels across the country, although the partnership is being billed as predominantly to support elite British athletes as they "fine tune their preparations for Rio 2016".

This will include the provision of fitness equipment, fitness expertise and access to Fitness First facilities.

"The synergy between Team GB and Fitness First is very clear and obvious, embracing sport and getting the nation to understand what elite competition is about, along with challenging all those big issues such as physical inactivity," BOA chairman Sebastian Coe said.

"Partnering with world-class organisations to help us deliver on all things that we hold dear at the BOA is crucial and I am delighted to welcome Fitness First to our British Olympic Family."

Martin Seibold, UK managing director of Fitness First, in between Bill Sweeney and Sebastian Coe following the announcement ©BOAMartin Seibold, UK managing director of Fitness First, in between Bill Sweeney and Sebastian Coe following the announcement ©BOA

Given the strong profile of British athletes following their success on home soil at London 2012, where they finished in third place on the medals table behind only the United States and China, the deal appears a good way for Fitness First to further raise their brand profile.

In this vein, it was added that additional activities involving British athletes as well as Fitness First members and the general public, will be announced in the future.

Martin Seibold, Fitness First UK managing director, added: "Fitness First provides inspiration and motivation to empower people to go further with their own fitness journey.

"As two organisations who believe in the ability of expert support teams to motivate and inspire greatness, we look forward to working closely with the BOA to support Team GB athletes and Fitness First members."

The announcement also marks the first major commercial deal achieved since Bill Sweeney, the former head of business development at Puma, took over as BOA chief executive last October as a replacement for Andy Hunt.

"Fitness First is one of the largest fitness brands in the world and we are thrilled to be partnering with them on our journey to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," Sweeney said.

"Our partnership with Fitness First marks the British Olympic Association's first ever fitness partner and I look forward to working with them on some exciting projects over the coming years."

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