Hugh Robertson sees behind-the-scenes preparations for Olympics and Paralympics.
“Manchester is one of the UK’s great sporting cities and is already making a massive contribution to the 2012 Olympics and the wider world of sport,” said Mr Robertson.
“Many of our top athletes are basing themselves in the city so they can train at its world class facilities, and a number of other national teams are looking to base themselves here in the run-up to the Games.”
At Manchester Velodrome the Minister saw first-hand some of Britain’s leading sprint track riders and para-cyclists being put through their paces in an afternoon training session, including four-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and rising star Jess Varnish, alongside multi-medal winning Paralympians Jody Cundy and Sarah Storey.
“You can’t help but be impressed by the set-up here in Manchester, in terms of the facilities which are second to none, and the sense of professionalism combined with a winning mentality you see in the coaches and riders alike,” said Mr Robertson.
Battle Back initiative
He also met Terry Byrne and Jon-Allan Butterworth who joined the Great Britain Para-Cycling Team via Battle Back, a scheme between Paralympics GB and the Ministry of Defence which helps wounded service personnel return to an active life with the help of adventure training and sport.
Staff at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) have played an important part in the success of British Cycling and Mr Robertson was able to see the very detailed and precise science behind the sport at the EIS’s facilities at Manchester’s SportsCity complex.
Something to Chew on
Mr Robertson also took part in some training of his own at Sacred Heart Primary School, where he joined year 4 pupils taking part in Something to Chew on , a healthy eating and lifestyle education scheme which has received a London 2012 Inspire Mark for its work in promoting some of the key values of the Games.