Thursday, 20 December 2012

BOA Names Team GB Training Camp for Rio 2016

Following UK Sport cuts in funding for some Olympic sports on the road to Rio 2016, there was some upbeat news today from the British Olympic Association to incentivise athletes bidding to participate in the first ever Games in South America.

The BOA has inked an agreement with the Minas Tenis Clube in Belo Horizonte to host the Olympic preparation camp for Team GB athletes. Belo Horizonte, the third largest city in Brazil, is also a host venue for next June's FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. It's a 45-minute flight from Rio (437km).

Average July temperature in the city is 21°C

Here's the website for the MTC -

It was selected following an extensive search across Brazil and neighbouring countries for a suitable training camp. BOA chief executive Andy Hunt, director of Games services Mark England and head of sport engagement Mike Hay were at today's signing ceremony.

National Governing Bodies were closely consulted in the selection process and it is anticipated that many sports will make use of the Team GB training camp, either for training or acclimatisation, prior to the Rio 2016 Games.

The BOA says the high quality facilities at the MTC include numerous indoor sports halls and gymnasiums, the swimming pool used to host the 2008 FINA World Cup, and the ‘Lagoa dos Ingleses’ (Englishman’s Lake) that could be used for training in sports such as rowing, canoeing and triathlon.

Hunt said: “Getting your pre-Games training and preparation environment right is absolutely essential to the success of an Olympic team on foreign soil. Today’s announcement represents another major step forward in our operational planning and preparation for Team GB ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics and a key part of our ambition to be the ‘most local non-local team’ at the 2016 Games."

Hunt said BOA chiefs were "very impressed" with the breadth of world-class sporting facilities available at the Minas Tenis Clube.

"We are confident that the MTC environment will offer the flexibility required by Team GB’s sports and we look forward to developing our relationship with President Sergio Bruno Zech Coelho and his team at the MTC as we expand and build upon our detailed planning for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."

About Belo Horizonte
* The Independencia Stadium was the venue for England's shock 1-0 loss to the USA in the 1950 World Cup, one of the greatest upsets in the tournament's history
* The 64,000 capacity Estadio Mineirao will stage six matches at the 2014 World Cup including one semi-final
* The city is home to three professional clubs - Cruzeiro, Atletico Mineiro and América

Financial Guarantees Coming for Rotterdam 2018 Youth Olympic Bid

I understand talks are going well between and the Dutch government to secure financial guarantees necessary for the city's Youth Olympic bid.

An official announcement is due in the next few weeks.

Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Guadalajara and Colombia's Medellin are the other bids vying for the 2018 YOG. The IOC Executive Board may decide to cut one or two cities from the field at its February meeting.

The IOC will elect the host of the 3rd summer Youth Olympics in July. Nanjing, China is staging the 2014 edition. Singapore held the inaugural YOG in 2010.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Rio Olympics - No Time to Waste

So Rio 2016 chiefs are listening to IOC concerns about the sluggish pace of preparations?

A press release dated 17 Dec talks of the organising committee’s "ambitious hiring goals" in the next seven months, going on to say that "a 60% headcount increase is expected until the end of July". There are jobs available in many areas, which are published on the official website ( Rio 2016 plans have about 4,000 employees among its staff come Games time.

Nawal El Moutawakel, the IOC's chief inspector on the Rio project, delivered the first wake-up call to the Brazilians in a speech at the IOC Session in London over the summer, warning that preparations were well off track. "Delivery deadlines are extremely tight and the overall work that has to be done is substantial," she told IOC members, adding that "very vigorous coordination" was needed to ensure Rio 2016 didn't fall any further behind schedule.

And last month the IOC used the London 2012 debrief in Rio to press home its message that there is no time to waste.

With scrutiny intensifying of preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June and the World Cup a year later, the Brazilian government and Rio 2016 cannot afford to be distracted in hitting its milestones in the delivery of the Olympics.

The IOC wants Rio 2016 to step up a couple of gears. We'll find out if they've done this when the IOC coordination commission led by the Moroccan visits in a few months time.