THE International Children’s Games is heading to Lanarkshire after the area fought off competition from around the globe to land the event dubbed the ‘Mini Olympics.’
The 25-strong ICG Committee made its unanimous decision on Thursday night (July 10) at this year’s Games in San Francisco – saying the bid was the best they had seen in 10 years.
And it now means that in 2011, more than 2000 young athletes between the ages of 12 and 17 from over 70 countries will descend on Lanarkshire to take part in the world’s largest sporting event for youths.
The Lanarkshire bid team of Lanarkshire’s Lord Lieutenant Gilbert Cox, North Lanarkshire Council Leader Jim McCabe and South Lanarkshire Council Depute Leader Michael McCann, and led by New Lanarkshire Limited Chairman Ian Livingstone (who delivered the main presentation), fought off competition from Daegu (South Korea) and Singapore to land the showcase event.
Jim McCabe said: “We knew we had a great case and an outstanding presentation, but there was always the thought in the back of our minds that we could be pipped at the post.”
The Lanarkshire bid team‘s 25-minute presentation to the ICG committee included a film featuring messages from First Minister Alex Salmond, BBC sports presenter Hazel Irvine, Olympic Gold Medal cyclist Chris Hoy, swimmer Douglas Scott, who progressed from the International Children’s Games to the Great Britain swim team, and music duo The Proclaimers.
It also featured a number of the young athletes taking part in the San Francisco Games and presented a showcase of Lanarkshire’s locations and venues – including Wishaw Sports Centre.
Lanarkshire submitted its bid to host the Games early last year and this was followed by an official inspection by the IGC Executive Committee, which spent six days touring the region’s sports and cultural facilities, to assess its suitability as a potential host of the event.
Mr McCabe continued: “We told the committee we will use the Games to create a lasting legacy for Lanarkshire, and we made it clear that we are determined to avoid a situation where the Games are simply parachuted in and rocketed out without touching the local community.”
Lanarkshire’s presentation stressed that part of that legacy would be a Lanarkshire-wide inter-school games that would be inaugurated as part of the run-up to the 2011 Games.
Mr McCabe added: “The Games is not only a fantastic event to look forward to, it is an event that will have a profound and lasting effect on Lanarkshire, and establish it firmly as a centre of excellence for sport.”