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WALES: We can carry torch for Olympic dreams; N.WALES ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR COMPETITORS.

Byline: By SAM LISTER Parliamentary Correspond

WORLD-CLASS athletes are set to descend onNorth Wales for training in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics.

Officials yesterday unveiled a list of venues that will feature in the official training camp list, including Pwllheli Sailing Club and Canolfan Tryweryn - the National Whitewater Centre.

The guide will be published at the Beijing Games to allow athletes to select where they want to train for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas hailed the news as a great chance to attract foreign athletes to the region for Olympic training.

"This really will be an exciting opportunity," he said. "I would like to see the town being used as a base for countries Wrexham already has a contact with, and poorer nations taking advantage of the facilities we have on offer here.

"It is a good way of capturing the imagination of the town and will have great economic benefits.

"Wrexham council did a very good job of pushing hard for the area to be included in the guide."

The move to give North Wales a role in 2012 comes after Welsh Secretary PaulMurphy lastweek agreed to put pressure on Cabinet colleagues to ensure the region could share in the rewards of the games.

Labour and Plaid MPs are calling for more action to make sure facilities in the region will be used and events secured.

Plaid's Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd, MP for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, said: "We have got first-class facilities and I am pleased they are being used for training. At least some of the benefits from the Olympics will come to Wales."

Although the region will have to compete against the rest of the UK, extra cashwill be available to attract teams to use it as a base.

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee, said: "We said that we wanted the London Games to be for athletes, and the facilities listed in this Guide will really help overseas athletes prepare well.

"It also provides a great opportunity for towns throughout the UK to get involved in our plans.

"The process we have been through shows a great spread of high quality facilities throughout the UK that can be used by elite level athletes."

THE CHOSEN NINE

Canolfan Tryweryn, The National Whitewater Centre (Canoe / Kayak Slalom) Deeside College (Athletics) North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (Newi) (Badminton, Basketball, Fencing, Hockey, Judo, Table Tennis, Wrestling) Plas Y Brenin, The National Mountain Centre (Road Cycling, Mountain Biking) Pwllheli Sailing Club (Sailing) The Holyhead Weightlifting Centre of Excellence (Weightlifting) University of Wales, Aberystwyth (Mountain Biking) Wrexham AFC Stadium (Football) Wrexham Queensway Stadium (Athletics)

CAPTION(S):

Venues chosen include Pwllheli Sailing Club (main), The whitewater rafting centre at Canolfan Tryweryn (left), Plas Y Brenin (middle) and Newi sports centre (right)
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 4, 2008
Words:469
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