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The city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom will host the training camp for Jamaica’s track and field athletes, as they prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed today (Aug. 14), in Berlin, Germany, between Jamaica and the Birmingham City Council, to establish a working partnership between both sides aimed at providing the best possible training camp facilities for the Jamaican team ahead of the 25th (XXV) Olympiad.
The document was signed by President of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) Howard Aris and Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Mike Whitby.
The news was welcomed by Jamaica’s Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, who is in Berlin for the 12th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Track and Field Championships, currently underway.
“I am happy that we have made this move. The stakeholders from Birmingham had visited me in Jamaica and introduced me to the facilities, and I was impressed. I am particularly excited because 2012 will be Jamaica’s Golden Anniversary (of Independence) and I am already in discussions with the Birmingham City Council to see how we will make the occasion special in the city. In addition, a very strong sporting and cultural legacy will result from this, and I believe it is very good news for Jamaican athletics,” Ms. Grange said.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who is also in Berlin for the Championships, applauded the decision and spoke of the tremendous benefit that will accrue to Jamaica.
“Birmingham is a city that has always been close to Jamaica. There are many Jamaicans living in Birmingham and they have sold Jamaica well. We will be working closely with the leaders in Birmingham to build our base there and to improve tourist arrivals from that city. I expect to meet with them soon to explore the possibilities,” he stated.
Mr. Whitby expressed delight that the Jamaican team will be training there. “This means so much for the city of Birmingham. Our Jamaican community will be ecstatic because this guarantees them their place in the 2012 Games. While the competition will be based in London, this will definitely bring the Olympic fever to Birmingham. “We have great things planned to expand the occasion beyond sport. We will be working on our infrastructure, including expanding the runway of our airport in order to facilitate greater movement between Jamaica and Birmingham, and we will be planning many special activities to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence,” Mr. Whitby informed.
Assistant Director for Sport and Events 2012, Steve Hollingworth, who led the negotiations on behalf of Birmingham, said: “This is recognition of Birmingham’s long term commitment to sport and its excellent events management. This decision will electrify the Jamaican community in Birmingham and inspire a whole new generation of athletes from the city. We are absolutely delighted and you can be rest assured that Jamaica is in the best hands.”
The 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London, United Kingdom from July 27 to August 12.

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