Lord Coe Unveils New Sports Centre to Host International Teams for London 2012

November 2, 2011

Sebastian Coe has unveiled a new £8.25 million ($13.1 m) sports centre at St Mary’s University College in Twickenham which is to play host to three international teams in the build-up to London 2012.

Teams from China, Ireland and South Africa are all due to base themselves at St Mary’s before the Olympics.

With £500,000 ($796,000) of National Lottery investment from Sport England, the sports centre will further support and enhance the ever growing number of sport and health related academic programmes the University College has to offer, as well as facilitating the numerous student, staff and community activities that take place on campus, officials there claimed.

Lord Coe, London 2012 chairman, said: “Since visiting St Mary’s in April, when I was walking round what was effectively a building site, the progress that has been made here is astonishing and this really is an extraordinary facility.” 

St Mary’s has established itself as one of London’s top-performing sporting institutions, providing a comprehensive sports development programme that focuses on elite performance sport, special events, recreational opportunities, coaching and broader sports development activities.

Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: “This Lottery investment will ensure we build a lasting legacy beyond next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games by giving students, staff and the local community the opportunity to enjoy and play sport in this first-class facility.”

Among the athletes who have used St Mary’s to prepare for major events are Britain’s Mo Farah, the world 5,000 metres champion.

Professor Richard Fisher, head of St Mary’s 2012 Preparations and Sport Strategy, commented: “Sport plays an important role in the student experience at the University College and the facilities are a key part of delivering this.”

“In turn, these facilities and support services attract professional athletes to train on campus, including athletes from the South African, Irish and Chinese Olympic teams who will be using St Mary’s as their 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp. They also enable the University College to provide an even better service to the local community.”