Jersey – a centre for UK sporting excellence?

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Eady was formerly in charge of élite performance UK lottery investment in sport, and although he is now retired from that position he is retained as an adviser.’Every significant sport in the UK receives lottery funding for its development.

I have been saying for a while that Jersey is the ideal place for specialised training.

It has the most tremendous sporting facilities,’ Eady said.

‘You have centres like Les Ormes and then just down the road that wonderful sporting complex at Les Quennevais – and I can’t see any reason why some of the work – training and preparation for a major event as well as the support facilities such as physiotherapy and massage clinics – could not be done in the Island.’While he is the first to acknowledge that Jersey’s weather cannot compete with places like Cyprus, which is currently the destination for athletes going into warm-weather training prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics, the weather for outdoor training is still better, on average, than that at Bisham Abbey or Loughborough, two huge sporting centres in England.’And I’m involved in boxing and you have a good facility here, at South Hill, which could be in use 24 hours a day for training.

Jersey would be a completely different environment for people coming over to train, and there would be the associated benefits for Jersey created when sports teams come to stay here for regular periods.’He is certain that such a scheme could be set up successfully, and the Assistant Director of Sport and Leisure, Derek de la Haye has already been in contact with him about it.’At the moment it is just the germ of an idea,’ de la Haye said.

‘I hope to meet Mr Eady early in the New Year to discuss the ideas further, but if it happened it would be good for Jersey and good for the visiting athletes.’He added that Jersey is, in many ways, the ideal location to bring teams over to train in.’Clearly Jersey has an advantage, we’re close to the UK mainland, geographically and in terms of culture and language, and I think visiting sportspeople would feel comfortable here.

When I meet Mr Eady – I hope that will be early in the New Year – we can then identify the sports that might be interested and see if the idea is viable.’Eady said: ‘All I need is for someone to come to me and say they are interested.

If I get the nod I am more than prepared to set up the required links.’But he warned that it won’t happen overnight.’We’re going into 2004, Olympics year, so there will be no new funding available until 2005, but it would be great to think that Jersey could become involved.’

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