Sebastian COE, Chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, said: "We will stage a world-class Olympic and Paralympic Games and the ODA's completion of construction work on our world-class sailing venue, three and a half years before the event, is a major milestone on our journey to 2012. We have put athletes at the heart of the 2012 Games and the facilities at Weymouth and Portland will provide competitors from all round the world the best possible arena for medal-winning performances."
Works on Portland Marina, which will be used alongside the Sailing Academy to provide berthing and land based facilities at Games time is progressing ahead of schedule, meaning all key facilities will be ready more than three years ahead of the start of the Games.
Gold Medal Winning Sailor Unveils World-Class New Sailing Facilities
Beijing gold medal winning sailor Paul GOODISON (GBR) joined ODA Director Ralph LUCK, Olympic gold medallist Jonathan EDWARDS from the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG), Jim KNIGHT MP for Dorset and WPNSA Chairman Edward LEASK to unveil the new facilities today.
GOODISON, a Weymouth local who won gold in the Laser class at the Beijing Games, said, "Winning gold in Qingdao was an amazing experience - I am now looking forward to 2012, training and competing out of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on my home waters."
ODA Director LUCK added, "The completion of these works is only the start for Weymouth & Portland and the huge investment going into the area shows how the Games can act as a catalyst for regeneration, delivering sporting and economic benefits before, during and long after 2012."
Edward Leask, WPNSA Chairman, said: "The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is the first 2012 venue to complete construction, the enhanced facilities secure WPNSA's status as the premier world class venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as catering for the local Weymouth and Portland communities through our active sustainable legacy programme. This is an exciting time for British yachting following the medal success at the Beijing Games and I am confident the Academy will help future GBR podium finishes in 2012 and beyond."
Along with the completion of works at Weymouth & Portland, it was also announced today that the National Lottery has raised £375 million of its £750 million target for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, through sales of specially-designated Lottery games. All the money raised from sales of these designated games will go towards funding the provision of facilities and supporting infrastructure for the 2012 Games.
Janet PARASKEVA, Chair of the Olympic Lottery Distributor said: "National Lottery players are making a major contribution to London 2012 and it is great to see the completion of enhanced facilities at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the day we reach the halfway mark to the £750m we will raise through Lottery games designated to London 2012. Thanks to the National Lottery world-class facilities have been created for our elite sailors that will also provide an important resource for the local community now and until 2012 and beyond."
The ODA's completion of enhanced sailing facilities is only the first phase in the wider regeneration of Weymouth & Portland ahead of the 2012 Games. Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas was selected by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) to develop and operate a new 560-berth commercial marina at Osprey Quay of which 250 berths will be used during the 2012 Games. Work on the marina is well underway and it is on target to open in April 2009. The development also includes new marine retail and commercial units, bringing enormous social and economic regeneration to the local area.
Tony BRAY, Dorset area director for the South West RDA, which bought the Osprey Quay site in 2000, said: "The Games could bring an estimated £1.7 billion to the South West economy and the regeneration of Osprey Quay as a global centre for sailing excellence and a magnet for leisure and marine industries will help achieve that. It will leave a lasting legacy long after 2012 and help unlock the area's business potential."
The enhanced facilities that the ODA has constructed will further enhance WPNSA's reputation as a world-class training and competition venue. With the new facilities in place, the Academy is already lined up to host the RS:X World Championship, the Techno Junior Windsurfing World Championship and Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta in 2009, as well as the IFDS (Paralympic Sailing) World Championship in 2011.
ISAF Olympic microsite - www.sailing.org/olympics