UCD has invited ambassadors from several countries to a reception with the intent of promoting UCD as a prime training ground for athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Vice President for Students Dr Martin Butler told The University Observer that “it’ll be an opportunity for Dublin tourism and an opportunity for UCD to showcase itself to an international audience.”
As the 2012 Summer Olympics are set to take place in London, it is hoped that UCD can be used as a training ground for visiting athletes hoping to acclimatise before travelling to the Olympic village. As construction of the new Student Centre continues, it is hoped that the new gym and swimming pool will be completed by 2012. Dr Butler noted that “what traditionally happens is that some teams will come here sometimes three months in advance,” and he believes UCD is perfect for this purpose as “we’ve got the on-campus accommodation, we’ve got the restaurant, we’ve sports science, we’ve all of their needs.” Dublin’s close proximity to London is also being used as a selling point in the proposal.
The reception is to be attended by a large number of diplomats. At the time of speaking to The University Observer Dr Butler stated that fifteen had agreed to attend the event, from countries as diverse as Iran and Australia. Former Irish Olympians Ronnie Delaney, who won a gold medal in the 1500m for Ireland at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, and Michael Carruth, who took gold in 1992 for welterweight boxing, are expected to attend the reception. In addition, athletes who have received sports scholarships to UCD are also expected to attend the event. The UCD Choral Scholars will be performing and the UCD Symphony Orchestra have been invited to perform.
Dr Butler feels that having Olympic athletes on campus will “bring a bit of life, fun and vitality,” to UCD. He also said that “2012 is the closest the Olympics has been in a long number of years and it would be nice if Ireland could enjoy the fun.”Belfield to be used as Olympic training ground