AN OLYMPIC team leader has toured the sports centre his squad will use as they prepare to compete in the 2012 games.
Maxwell De Silva, general secretary of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee, has been given a tour of Durham University’s Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle on the outskirts of the city.
The facilities will be used by the country’s competitors as they get ready to take part in next year’s Olympics in London.
Mr De Silva was given an exclusive look at new developments on the site in Stockton Road, which are nearing completion.
He was also shown round Durham itself as part of yesterday’s visit.
The partnership between the university and the country ahead of the games came as a result of previous links.
Dr Peter Warburton, the university’s director of sport, said: “Ever since Durham University launched Project Sri Lanka in response to the 2004 Tsunami, that provided support in terms of manpower, research, expertise and fund-raising for the regeneration effort, we have had close ties at all levels with Sri Lanka.
“Over the last three years an element of this has been the provision of sporting expertise in terms of visits from staff, students and alumni.
“We have a team of eight sports students out there at the moment working closely with Sabaragamuwa University and surrounding villages delivering an all-round sport programme.
“Our sport science staff also work across all Sri Lanka’s universities and their PE staff evaluating fitness levels, training methods and delivering fitness programmes through workshops.”
He added he was delighted to have welcomed Mr De Silva to the site.
The sports site is undergoing a £6.7million investment.
It includes a programme which will help rowers improve their performance and provide ways of supporting volunteers and help coaches develop through the new Robert Gillespie Boat House.
A new extension and refurbishment of the centre itself will include a 28 station fitness suite and a £1million high-specification power rowing tank, which is due to be complete this year.
The improvements are part of a £100million programme to enhance the university’s estate.