October 30 - The UK is aiming to host a world class sporting event on average every two weeks in the final 1,000 days before the start of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012, it was revealed today.
UK Sport, the Government agency responsible for bringing world class events to the country, today announced the list of 64 events which it is targeting for towns and cities across the country before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, beginning today with the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester.
Alongside traditional sporting city venues such as Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield, the final 1,000 days before the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will see towns such as Dorchester, Hereford and Largs hosting championships that will provide the opportunity for top British athletes to compete in world class events on home soil.
More than 17,000 international competitors would be expected to take part in the events, providing the British public with an opportunity to catch a glimpse of current and potential Olympic and Paralympic champions in action.
The 64 event programme covers 30 different Olympic and Paralympic sports and would represent a £32 million pound investment - £11 million directly from the UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class Events Programme.
The programme was developed by UK Sport alongside regional partners and the relevant sporting National Governing Bodies.
Of the events listed, 25 are already confirmed, with organisers aiming to agree the remaining 39 in the near future.
This year has already seen 19 world class events successfully delivered as part of the Programme.
John Steele, the chief executive of UK Sport, said: "We believe this is the most comprehensive programme of major events leading into a Games that any host country has ever put together.
"It will provide British athletes with the opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd and the public with a chance to experience world class sporting action in their local area.”
Staging major events on home soil not only provides athletes with home support but is also a prime opportunity for the thousands of volunteers and officials that will be required for 2012, UK Sport claimed.
The 64 events in the run up to the Games will provide over 13,000 opportunities for such people to gain the necessary experience and key skills that will be needed.
Some of the competitions listed on the programme will be test events for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, said: "UK Sport’s support in staging world-level events that help train and develop the UK’s technical officials ahead of 2012 is a vital part of the preparations for making sure that we hold a first class Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
"We always hoped that hosting the Games would leave a legacy of more world- class events happening in this country, and it’s great to see this is happening."
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