Prime Minister David Cameron has visited Northern Ireland where he declared it a central part of the UK’s Olympic efforts.
The Prime Minister visited the home club in Coleraine, County Londonderry where he spoke to officials and athletes at the Bann Rowing Club and later met one of the young prospects who lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. The club coached Coleraine-born brothers Peter and Richard Chambers, who propelled the lightweight men’s four rowers into Thursday’s final and another shot at gold.
Mr Cameron said:
Team GB is a team for the whole of the United Kingdom. There are some fantastic athletes from Northern Ireland taking part.
Not only are there great Northern Ireland Athletes taking part in the Olympics, but also every part of our United Kingdom is benefiting from the Olympics.
The Prime Minister also praised torch bearers who carried the Olympic flame through Northern Ireland.
Mr Cameron said: “Our country is a small country that does big things.
The UK is a country that can deliver, that can get things done, that can put on an incredible show, that can make people feel proud to be British and above all can provide an inspiration for future generations.
The Prime Minister met a series of torch bearers and Katie Kirk, an 18 year-old 400m athlete and future Olympic hopeful who was nominated by Dame Mary Peters to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
Mr Cameron added:
The Olympic Games is something not just for London, not just for England, it is something for the whole of the UK and it really brings it home to me coming here to Coleraine and seeing the amazing contribution you are making to our rowing.
On every level, on the physical infrastructure, on the preparation for the Games, on bringing the country together, it has been a huge success but the real success of the Olympic Games, what is in these few incredible weeks of sport, the real success is about the legacy.
The real legacy is the message it sends to young people across the UK about sport, about competition, about taking part, about being everything you can be.
Mr Cameron concluded his Northern Ireland visit at Giant’s Causeway where he viewed a new multimillion-pound visitor centre at the Unesco World Heritage site. The network of hexagonal stone columns formed 60 million years ago draw huge tourist numbers to the County Antrim coastal attraction.
Mr Cameron said he wanted to use the Olympics to boost tourism.
The Prime Minister said:
”Now with the eyes of the world upon us, I want to see us make the very most of hosting these Games and to make sure we seize every single opportunity to showcase the whole country.