19th March 2010

Lee Valley Open Day

19 March 2010

Visitors were treated to behind the scenes access to Lee Valley National Performance Centre on Thursday 18 March to view the workings of an elite training facility and celebrate the partnership between UKA, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVA) and the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

London Councillors and members of sporting stake holders such as UK Sport and the DCMS were given special access to the centre to view medical physiotherapy suites, speak to world leading experts in sports coaching and science and catch a glimpse of elite training.

The centre is one of two National Performance Centres for athletics in the UK and hosts 58 athletes who are supported by the UKA World Class Performance Program. 32 of these competed in the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, ten achieved a top eight finish and four were medallists.

UKA Head Coach Charles Van Commenee hopes that the centre will continue to be a driving force in the success of the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletics team.

He said: “The vast majority of British athletes are based either in Loughborough or Lee Valley already, a few years out from the (Olympic) Games, and it will be used as a base during the games. More and more athletes are moving to Lee Valley because they want to be a part of this and because they feel they are missing out on something special.”

However, he stressed that there was still work to be done to make the facility even better ahead of 2012. “We have to resurface some areas to make them identical to the Olympic surface, while other areas will be softer, and we also need to work on the recovery area.”

Dan Pfaff, Centre Director for Lee Valley, believes that bringing together the best athletes and giving them access to not only the best facilities but also the best coaching and advice, is a recipe for success.

He said: “To be world class you need a world class environment to train in. That means not only the physical facility but also the people within the facility.”

The centre is a success due to the collaborative workings of EIS, LVA and UKA staff, is a centre for disability sports and acts as a driver for local community clubs and groups to train alongside schools.