SPORT in the Wishaw area could be set to receive a huge boost next month when Lanarkshire will find out if its bid to host the International Children’s Games in 2011 has been successful.
North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils have been working together in the hope of bringing the games to Scotland for the first time.
The event is dubbed the ‘Mini Olympics’ and would prove the perfect dress rehearsal for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Over 2000 young athletes, between the ages of 12 and 17, from around the globe would descend on Lanarkshire to take part in the world’s largest sporting event for youths.
The sporting spectacular is highly sought after however and Lanarkshire faces stiff competition from Singapore and Daegu (South Korea) in the race to host the games.
What could help the Lanarkshire bid is the close scrutiny which the area has already come under during Glasgow’s successful attempt to win the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Strathclyde Country Park is due to be the venue for the triathlon event at those games and so the area has already proven its suitability as a top class sporting destination.
Facilities in the area have also been recommended to international athletes looking to prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London. The state of the art and continually improving facilities at Wishaw Sports Centre have seen it included in the official London 2012 handbook.
The councils have also been working in partnership with civic group New Lanarkshire Limited since early 2007 and confidence is said to be high ahead of next month’s verdict.
North Lanarkshire Council leader, Jim McCabe (pictured far right), said: “The Games are about presenting Lanarkshire on the world stage and giving an international audience the opportunity to experience all that this area has to offer.
“We recognise the strength of the opposing bids but we believe that Lanarkshire has what it takes to make the games a great success. We have a vibrant, dynamic and fabulous location with terrific facilities and these Games will create a lasting legacy for Lanarkshire.”
Councillor McCabe’s counterpart from South Lanarkshire Council, Eddie McAvoy, urged the need for people throughout the region to get behind the bid and make the most of the opportunity it presented.
He said: “It is vitally important that young people are encouraged to get involved in sport as it plays an important part in good health and social development. Lanarkshire would be the perfect host for the 2011 International Children’s Games and would provide an inspiration and goal for young people the world over.”
The Games are an annual event and are acknowledged as being the breeding ground for sports stars of the future. Many of the young starlets who could be on show in Lanarkshire in 2011 will very likely be gracing the podium in Glasgow three years later.
The announcement on whether Lanarkshire’s bid has been successful or not will be made in San Francisco next month on Friday, July 11.