altTHE British Olympic Association (BOA) today officially announced details of Team GB's preparation camp plans ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.




Past camps on the Gold Coast and in Cyprus were hailed as an important factor in the success of Team GB at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and the BOA are keen to mirror that success prior to Beijing.




The search for the best facilities took place between 2003 and 2006 when the BOA undertook visits to Hong Kong, Hiroshima, Bangkok, Seoul, Macau and various locations throughout China.


Representatives from Olympic sports were consulted and gave their opinions on the performance advantages of each location.




The optimum location for most sports was Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China, and extensive arrangements have since been made with the Macau sporting and Government authorities and the Westin Resort to ensure that Team GB has exclusive useage of world class training facilities (many new facilities were constructed for the East Asian Games in Nov 2005) for the two to three weeks prior to the Games.


Macau is in the same time zone and also offers similar climatic conditions as Beijing and is also within a half-day transfer to the Olympic Village to avoid recurring travel fatigue.




Simon Clegg, chief executive of the BOA and the Chef de Mission for Beijing 2008, said: "Today's announcement builds on the BOA's experience of hosting preparation camps.


"It embraces both the athletes' needs, providing top quality training facilities in a safe and secure environment and enhances the BOA's aspiration to create a Team GB ethos.


"We are delighted that a large majority of Team GB athletes will base themselves in Macau which will allow them to enjoy similar surroundings in a Team GB atmosphere, away from the intensity of Beijing, in the build up to their Olympic competition."




Sports basing themselves in Macau are (pending Games qualification): Archery, athletics, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, judo, shooting, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling.




The BOA also recognises that whilst Macau provides many of the necessary benefits for the majority of Team GB's preparation needs several sports will be looking to base themselves in additional locations for the build up to the Games.


These are: canoeing (Beijing), cycling (Newport), diving (Xian), equestrian (Hong Kong), Modern Pentathlon (Font Romeu), rowing (Beijing), sailing (Qingdao), swimming (Osaka), tennis (direct from the ATP tour) and triathlon (Jeju Island)




Various Olympic sports have already tried and tested the facilities in Macau in the last year and several will also be utilising them in the next six months.




UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins said: "We are very, very pleased with the facilities and set-up in Macau.


"They have already had an extremely positive impact on the preparations for athletes ahead of the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing and this year's IAAF World Championships in Osaka.




"A good preparation camp is vital in getting athletes both mentally and physically ready for a major championship and Macau offers everything we require.




"The BOA's contribution and support in Macau has been a tremendous help to our athletes. It has made a significant difference and has proved what can be achieved in partnership."




Barry Eley, archery performance manager, said: "Macau has everything within a very short distance, which makes life very good for our preparations for Beijing.


"We tested the facilities prior to our Olympic test event in Beijing in August this year and the hotel is fantastic, the nutrition is excellent and the training facilities are first class.


"We have also received great support from the Macau Archery Association, so for us it's a wonderful venue."




Gary Hall, taekwondo performance director said: "The facilities in Macau are first-class as we found out when we utilised them prior to our 2007 World Championships in Beijing earlier this year.


"The facilities arranged by the BOA provide our athletes with the ideal setting to recover from the journey to Asia and acclimatise to conditions similar to those in Beijing.


"The environment created will also allow us and other sports to undertake the final stages of preparation ahead of the Games without any distractions."