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Malawi first to South East Pre-Games Training Camps

8 April 2009
Paddy Herlihy and Floriano Massah
Seated (at left) Paddy Herlihy, SEEDA, with Floriano Massah, President of the Malawi Olympic Committee. Standing (at left) Lyndsey Horton, Tourism South East with Helene Mpinganjira, Secretary General of Olympic Committee.

Malawi’s Olympic team will use the South East as their pre-games training base ahead of London’s 2012 Games, following an agreement signed with SEEDA this week.

The agreement, signed by Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) President Mr Floriano Massah during his visit to the region, heralded what SEEDA hopes will be the start of strong economic and community links with Malawi in the spirit of friendship through sport. Business, education and cultural initiatives will also be developed as a result of the agreement.

SEEDA’s Executive Director for Sustainable Prosperity Oona Muirhead said: "The South East has much to gain from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We were delighted to welcome representatives from MOC to the region to assess our Pre-Games Training Camps venues as it gave us the opportunity to promote our world class facilities and offer Malawi a world class welcome."

In a tour hosted by SEEDA, Mr Massah was shown a number of regional sporting highlights, including Southampton’s Jubilee Sports Centre and Quays Diving and Swimming Centre, Portsmouth University’s Sports Science facilities and Mountbatten Centre, Tonbridge School’s sporting facilities and accommodation, as well as Crawley’s new K2 leisure complex and Wycombe Leisure Centre. Mr Massah also experienced the spectacular scenery and heritage the region has to offer its visitors.

While Malawi is the first Olympic Committee to sign such an agreement, SEEDA is hoping to attract many more Olympic athletes to its Pre-Games training camps. The region’s sporting facilities will be showcased again later this month when the Colombian Paralympic Secretary General visits the birthplace of disability sport Stoke Mandeville, as well as the University of Surrey, Medway Park, Portsmouth and Crawley.

SEEDA’s South East 2012 Manager Paddy Herlihy said: "We have 135 sporting venues that have been given Pre-Games training status for national and international elite athletes, providing them with an excellent opportunity to train and acclimatise in their sport ahead of the London 2012 Games. The Training Camps also give us the opportunity to showcase the region’s excellent tourism product."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Rachael Nightingale, Media Relations Manager
Tel: 01483 48427
Email: rachaelnightingale@seeda.co.uk

Miranda Johnson, Tourism South East
Tel: 01962 890208
Email: mirandajohnson@btinternet.com

Rachel Shimell, Tourism South East
Tel: 02380 732981
Email: rachel.shimell@ntlworld

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