05 December 2012
The Award of 2013 European City of Sport was officially handed over to Lisburn this week at a Presentation Ceremony at The European Parliament in Brussels.
Council representatives, accompanied by Freeman of the City and Olympian, Dame Mary Peters, DBE and MEP, Diane Dodds, received the prestigious Award on behalf of Lisburn, the only City in Great Britain and Ireland to be granted the honour for 2013 and one of only nine in the whole of Europe.
The Award Ceremony took place in the prestigious European Parliament with over 350 representatives from right across Europe attending.
The European City of Sport Award comes after a robust inspection of the City and its sporting facilities in the summer. An Evaluation Committee from the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES) visited Lisburn last June.
As part of the evaluation the Foundation was ‘very impressed by the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex Regional Centre which not only serves the Community as a place to have fun and keep fit but also as a Centre of Excellence for Swimming in particular. It is a City that values sport and participation from an early age right through to the support given to Elite Athletes from the Sport Institute. Lisburn is a City that embraces Sport for All.’
Speaking in Brussels, Mayor of Lisburn, Alderman William Leathem, said that the City was delighted to have been recognised as a European City of Sport for 2013.
“This international award shows how the facilities, sports clubs and of course the athletes themselves in Lisburn, are among the very best in Europe. We have always known this to be the case but it is very gratifying that the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation has also recognised this. I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in sport, for playing their part in Lisburn achieving this wonderful honour,” said Alderman Leathem.
Following the awards ceremony in Brussels, the delegation visited nearby Antwerp which has been awarded the European Capital City of sport for 2013. There they met representatives of other Cities to identify areas of commonality for potential development in the field of sport and recreation.
Chairman of the Council’s Leisure Services Committee, Councillor Thomas Beckett said that 2013 was sure to be a very exciting time for sport in Lisburn.
“As a 2013 European City of Sport, Lisburn has a tremendous opportunity to showcase our facilities and our home-grown talent, locally, nationally and internationally. We are already working hard, behind the scenes, with local sporting clubs and organisations, to develop a Calendar of Events to celebrate this European Award. 2013 looks set to be a very special year and we look forward to the Launch of our Programme of Events, early in the New Year.
“Congratulations to everybody involved in securing ‘European City of Sport Status,” said Councillor Beckett.
Accepting the Award on behalf of Lisburn at the European Parliament in Brussels were (l-r) Mr Jim Rose, Director of Leisure Services, Lisburn City Council (LCC); Mr John Swanson, Vice-President, ACES; Mr Brendan Courtney, Assistant Director Leisure Services, LCC; Mr Jian Francesco, President ACES; Alderman William Leathem, Mayor of Lisburn; Councillor Thomas Beckett, Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee (LCC); Dame Mary Peters, DBE; Ms Diane Dodds, MEP and Alderman Paul Porter, Vice-Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee (LCC).
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