Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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28 June 2009 | PR 09/77

Loughborough University to become Olympic athletics hub

Loughborough University is to become a primary centre for athletics investment in the run up to the London Olympics after being named one of two new 2012 Performance Centres by UK Athletics (UKA).

Already recognised as a national High Performance Centre (HiPAC) under the previous UKA structure, Loughborough will see even more of the country’s top talent joining its ranks following the governing body’s decision to reduce its number of national centres from four to two.

As part of the new excellence set-up Loughborough, alongside London centre Lee Valley, will become the primary focus for investment in world-leading coaching and support staff, facilities and equipment in the lead up to 2012.   

Top British pole vaulters Kate Dennison and Steve Lewis, sprinters Martyn Rooney and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, distance runners Lisa Dobriskey and Nick McCormick and field athletes Robbie Grabarz and Dan Greaves are amongst the large world class contingent already based at the University’s athletics centre which boasts a full suite of facilities both indoors and out.

Increased sports science and sports medicine support, and an agreement that extends to include research support from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) and Sports Technology Institute (STI), will ensure Loughborough remains at the forefront of supporting Britain’s athletes for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Loughborough University Vice Chancellor Professor Shirley Pearce said:

“We are delighted to enter into a new chapter of our relationship with UKA. Their long-term commitment to a Loughborough base will enable us to work closely together to take athletics forward in the UK.”

Charles van Commenee, UKA Head Coach - Olympics, said:

"It has been a thorough process, but we have decided that Lee Valley and Loughborough will become the 2012 Performance Centres where we will concentrate most of our resources in these crucial next few years. We will make these centres world-leading environments of excellence.

"In the coming months, we will work hard on developing all aspects of these venues' facilities further so they provide the perfect environment for elite athletes and coaches.

"Everyone within the sport in the UK shares huge ambitions for the next few years. Together we can meet those ambitions. Athletes based at Lee Valley and Loughborough can be sure that every single provision will be given to enable them to succeed at Olympic and World level. The 2012 Performance Centres will be where British athletes can prepare and train together to take on and beat the world's best."

As part of the new agreement, both organisations have committed to working together for at least the next 10 years as well as further integrating their athletics programmes through joint strategic planning. 

Loughborough University Director of Sport Chris Earle added:

“This is a significant step up in our partnership with UK Athletics in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s a real boost for the athletes, coaches and support staff currently based at Loughborough as well as those who will move here over the coming months. By working even more closely with UKA we will strengthen our already successful athletics programme and give British athletes the best chance of success in 2012.”

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For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
M: 07825 236 221
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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