London will bid for the 2016 LEN European Swimming Championships with the capital’s new Aquatics Centre at the heart of the proposal, British Swimming has confirmed.
The bid for the event, that features Swimming, Diving and Synchronised Swimming, has the full backing of Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Mayor’s promotional organisation London & Partners, UK Sport and the Olympic Park Legacy Company. It was finalised with LEN representatives at a House of Lords reception hosted by UK Sport Chair Baroness Sue Campbell.
British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes said: “The agreement to work with LEN on a partnership to bring the 2016 European Championships to London will ensure the Olympic pool has an events legacy and will allow our athletes to prepare for their next Olympic milestone, Rio de Janeiro.
“A successful bid would also provide an additional legacy in terms of inspiring people within the surrounding boroughs to participate in swimming and to enjoy the health benefits this brings.”
A decision from European governing body is expected in September at the LEN Bureau Meeting in Portugal.
The championships have always been an aspiration for British Swimming, UK Sport, the Olympic Park Legacy Company and London. Since 2010 the partnership has worked to determine the feasibility of the UK hosting the event in the London Aquatics Centre.
Simon Morton, UK Sport’s Director of Major Events and International Relations, said: “UK Sport is leading the work to use London 2012 as a catalyst to bring some of the world’s biggest international sporting events to the UK.
“In the past 12 months alone we’ve been able to use our position as an Olympic host nation to help secure future World Championships for the UK in Athletics, Gymnastics, Triathlon and Canoe Slalom. The 2016 European Swimming Championships, in the spectacular Olympic Aquatics Centre, would make a fantastic addition to this programme of major international events.
“We are working closely with British Swimming and the other event partners to finalise a strong funding package and a compelling bid proposal, which we hope will demonstrate to LEN why they should entrust the UK with hosting their most prestigious event in 2016.”
The European Championships would be followed closely by a large London swimming fan base which last week ensured the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatic Centre were a sell out success.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Hosting the LEN European Swimming Championships in 2016 would see the largest event held in the Aquatics Centre after the Games and would build on the legacy of our Olympic venues as being the first choice for elite sporting events.
“Swimming has a huge following in London and staging this fantastic championships would not just be a wonderful accolade for our city but a chance for Londoners to enjoy some first-class sport right on their doorstep.”
The Olympic Park Legacy Company is working with British Swimming and other National Governing Bodies for sport to ensure an ongoing programme of sporting events across all of its venues on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: “Major events such as the 2016 LEN European Swimming Championships will enhance the legacy of sporting, commercial and job opportunities on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games.
“The Aquatics Centre is a powerful draw and our bid is another example of how London is further ahead in planning legacy than any previous host Olympic city.”
Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events for London & Partners said: “Securing the 2016 LEN European Swimming Championships for London would provide significant benefits for the city and another deliverable legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
“London & Partners is currently working closely with UK Sport and the Olympic Park Legacy Company to secure a programme of on-going major events which attract international visitors and investors to London. We are delighted to support British Swimming for what would be a major coup for the city’s sporting calendar and further recognition that London is the best big city on earth for sport.”
by Ismail Uddin