Wales and the United Kingdom are ready to welcome the world, Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan said today (25 July) as Cardiff prepares to stage the first event of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Mrs Gillan will be accompanied by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to the capital’s Millennium Stadium which will stage the first games of the women’s football tournament, two days before the opening ceremony at the Olympic Park in London.
Team GB will take on New Zealand at the Stadium in an event which marks the start of an 18-day sporting spectacular.
Mrs Gillan said:
“I am immensely proud that the world’s greatest sporting event starts in Wales.
“Wales is playing a leading role in London 2012 - the medals and the athletes’ numbers are all made in Wales as well as key elements of the Olympic Park itself. I want the whole country to take this opportunity to showcase everything that’s great about Wales, and ensure a lasting legacy long after the games are over.”
Wales will be sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympic Games with 30 athletes confirmed as Team GB members.”
All eyes will be on the athletes including 400m hurdler and Team GB athletics captain, Dai Green and World Champion triathlete Helen Tucker as they prepare to take the London 2012 stage in the quest for medal glory.
Away from the track, field and water, Welsh businesses will also see their contributions to the Games taking centre stage.
Around £38 million worth of Games-related contracts have been won by businesses based in Wales, with benefits cascading down the supply chain, supporting jobs and investment.
“The main focal point of the Olympic Park, the Olympic Stadium itself will be embossed with a Welsh stamp,” Mrs Gillan continued.
“The steel reinforcements for the podium structure have been manufactured by Express Reinforcement in Neath. Cardiff based company Euroclad also secured an order to manufacture and supply cladding and other materials for the Stadium as well as the International Broadcast Centre.”
“In and around the Olympic Park, another Cardiff firm, Bluebay Building Products has supplied reinforced concrete for its bridges and highways, while Rhino Doors from Port Talbot won a contract to manufacture entrance doors for the mammoth power lines tunnelling project.
“When our five Welsh swimmers take to the water at the Aquatics Centre, they will be encased by the sturdy steel frame of its iconic sweeping roof built by Rowecord Engineering in Newport. Total CDM Solutions in Cardigan also worked with the main architect Zaha Hadid on the Aquatics Centre design.
“Bridgend’s B&W Tunnelling provided drainage and buried services for the Park’s primary sewer and pumping station, and Flintshire-based Wagtail supplied sniffer dogs for the security team.
“Moreover, the ultimate prize for all the athletes- the 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals - have been made at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant. Every athlete competing will also have a made in Wales product emblazoned on their vests thanks to the numbers provided by First 4 Numbers of Tondu.
“These contracts have led to the creation and support of hundreds of jobs throughout the supply chain and they too should be very proud of their Olympic achievements.
“I look forward to watching the exciting events of the next 18 days unfold in anticipation of a record medal haul for Wales and Team GB.”