THE Valley Leisure Centre has been confirmed as an official venue for this year’s World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) - just a week after local councillors expressed fears that the borough could lose out on hosting the prestigious event.
At their monthly meeting on February 25, several members raised concerns that the price being proposed for the hire of the main halls at the leisure centre could force the organisers to look elsewhere. And they gave officers the go-ahead to negotiate with the WPFG committee to ensure the Games come to Newtownabbey.
The council has since revealed that an agreement has been reached with the organisers that the venue will be provided to them at half the normal cost, thought to be around £4,000 or £5,000 - the same price reduction recommended by officers at last week’s meeting.
This week, John Tully, Chief Executive of the 2013 WPFG, confirmed that the Valley will host the table tennis and basketball competitions during the biennial multi-sports event, which will take place from August 1 - 10.
“Each of the 42 host venues across Northern Ireland were selected following a comprehensive assessment process overseen by the WPFG Federation, the governing body of the Games. This included consultation with the local governing bodies of sport and the WPFG Federation to ensure that all the required criteria would be met and that competitors would enjoy the optimum experience in each sport,” he explained.
“The Valley Leisure Centre is to be congratulated for being assigned official venue status and we were delighted to hand over a plaque to the Mayor in recognition of Newtownabbey Borough Council’s participation in the Games.”
Welcoming the Games to the borough, Mayor Victor Robinson commented: “It is fantastic that Newtownabbey and the Valley Leisure Centre will be involved in an event of this magnitude. As a borough we look forward to welcoming the basketball and table tennis athletes from around the world.”
The World Police and Fire Games - one of the biggest multi-sports events in the world - will take place at 42 venues across the province and is expected to attract in excess of 20,000 competitors and visitors from more than 70 different countries.
Northern Ireland will be only the third European host city/region in the Games’ history, which were last held in New York in 2011.
For more information about the Games log on to www.2013wpfg.com, follow www.twitter.com/2013wpfg or check out www.facebook.com/2013wpfg