9 Oct 2005

Wales’ leading sporting facilities took centre stage yesterday (8th September) as a Chinese Olympic delegation landed on Celtic shores to assess Wales’ calibre as a potential training base for Team China, prior to the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics may be fully underway but thoughts of 2012 were patently at the forefront of the visiting officials’ thoughts as they embarked upon a whistle-stop, one-day tour of some of Wales’ top-class sporting venues.

Welsh Assembly Government and Sports Council for Wales representatives were on hand to welcome and escort their guests as they were invited to sample the variety of first-class facilities on offer across Cardiff and Newport.

WELSH INSTITUTE OF SPORTAt the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff, the travelling party was treated to a demonstration by the national badminton and table tennis squads, led by their respective Chinese coaches Zhou Junling and Li Chao. The national centre remains the only venue in the United Kingdom to hold British Olympic Association recognition for three key sports, including badminton and table tennis – events in which Team China secured their greatest medal hauls at the Athens Olympics and Paralympics in 2004.

Following a tour of Cardiff Bay the group was escorted on to the turf of the Millennium Stadium in the city centre. The venue has already proven itself a worthy setting as a footballing arena, having successfully staged many significant international events in its short history and it will be staging seven matches during the London Games in 2012.