Hereford's Olympic role

First published in Search Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , News Editor

The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford learned today that it will play a key role in the 2012 Olympics.

This morning LOCOG – The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games – named RNC as one of the 2012 Pre-Games Training Camps for Paralympic Sport in the special 2012 ‘Guide’.

In the weeks and months running up to the 2012 Games athletes across the world will take part in vital pre-Olympic training programmes, either at home or in the host country. This Guide will help competing nations locate the best place for these preparations.

RNC was chosen as a training camp because of the college’s experience in hosting disability sporting events and as a result of its high standard of multi-sport facilities, says LOCOG, who consulted with Paralympic sporting experts when drawing up their final list.

In the Guide RNC will be included for the Paralympic sports of Paralympic Athletics, Boccia, Football Five-a-side, Football Seven-a-side, Goalball, Paralympic Judo, Paralympic Powerlifting, Paralympic Table Tennis, Volleyball (sitting), Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby. RNC is home to the country’s Blind Football Squad, who will be competing in Beijing this year, and will host the World Blind Football Championships in 2010.

The college is currently undergoing a £21.5m redevelopment of its campus which includes the creation of a new international-standard Centre for Sport and Complementary Therapy alongside new residential accommodation. The news Sports Centre is due to open in January 2009.

This September RNC will also open the doors of the country’s first Blind Football Academy, which will offer Academy students football training as part of their curriculum of studies and which aims to help find and train future international Blind Football players.

“We are absolutely delighted to be playing our part in the 2012 Games,” says RNC’s CEO/ principal Christine Steadman. “This is a real endorsement of our plans to make RNC a national centre of excellence for disability sport. We look forward to working with the city to welcome Olympic teams at what will be a historic moment for the country, and our county.”

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