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As fireworks filled the sky at midnight on New Year’s Eve in the city, the European Capital of Sport 2014 logo was projected onto Cardiff Castle.
Councillor Ramesh Patel, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture said: “I am incredibly proud that Cardiff has been awarded European Capital for Sport 2014. As well as further endorsing Cardiff as a major sports destination, the accolade recognises the passion and sporting spirit which unites communities and inspires people across the city.”
2014 looks set to be a show-stopper for Cardiff with a huge number of national and international events, including Welsh Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games Qualifiers, Six Nations Rugby, the Heineken and Amlin Cup Finals, Power Boat Championships and the UEFA Supercup Final. Local communities will also be involved in staging events and new schemes to boost sports participation and give everyone a chance to participate in this momentous year.
Cllr Patel continued: “Our already well-established grass roots sports programme which has been heralded as a best case example in Europe will continue in its development of sport at all levels. With the introduction of “The Cardiff Games”, an Olympic and Paralympic legacy, all school children will be inspired and encouraged to participate in competitive sport with the aim that they become ‘hooked on sport’ and continue to engage in it for the rest of their lives. Here in Cardiff we are committed to providing sport as a social function as well as using it as a tool to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for everyone living here.”
Cardiff has many excellent facilities to attract visitors, including the International Sports Village which is home to the International Pool and Cardiff International White Water (CIWW), offering rafting, indoor surfing and an Olympic standard course for paddle sport enthusiasts. The city has also played host to major national and international events including London 2012 Olympic football matches, the Ashes, the Heineken Cup Final and the Extreme Sailing Series.
Cardiff successfully won the bid to host the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2016 and the city has also been chosen to be a host port for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018. With Cardiff City Football Club now in the English Premier League all eyes are on Cardiff at an international level.
Cllr Patel concluded, “Cardiff has an impressive and rich sporting heritage, and we should be proud of the recognition, and excited by what the future holds for sporting opportunities here in the capital city of Wales. I would like to thank the Lord Mayor of Cardiff for his support during this process and for collecting the prestigious flag from Brussels on behalf of the people of Cardiff, formally pronouncing the city as European Capital for Sport 2014.”