Down prepares for huge sporting extravaganza

Down prepares for huge sporting extravaganza

19 December 2012

DOWN District is to play a key role in the World Police and Fire Games which are being held in Northern Ireland next summer.

Castlewellan lake has been selected as the venue for the canoeing events, Donard Park for mountain running and Tollymore National Outdoor Centre for orienteering. Ballykinler army camp will also host the shooting events.

Up to 10,000 athletes from 70 countries will descend on the Province for the event which is expected to attract many visitors to stay in the district.

John Tully, the Chief Executive of the World Police and Fire Games, said the organisers were very impressed with Down District.

“Whilst sport is at the core of the Games we are confident that our international competitors will be very impressed by both the excellent facilities in Down, the beautiful scenery and the warm welcome offered by the many accommodation providers in the area,” he said.

“There are still many opportunities for local hotels, B&B and guest house owners and self catering facilities to benefit from the large number of visitors expected next summer and we would encourage interested providers to register with the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau so that they can make the most of this unique event.” 

Down Council chairman, Mickey Coogan, said the council is delighted to be hosting competitors from one of the largest sporting events in the world.

“Down District will play host to 10 events making it the largest event hub outside of Belfast,” said Mr. Coogan. “Our venues which will host some of the games includes Donard Park and Mountains, Castlewellan Lake and Ballykinlar. 

“This provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase both Newcastle as a gateway to Mourne and destination Mourne as an Ireland’s premiere outdoor activity centre.  The World Police and Fire Games will stretch across the Mournes to the town of Rostrevor and will be the premiere event in a wider calendar of outdoor activity events across Mourne in 2013.”

This will be the first time that the Games will be hosted in the UK and only the third time in their 28 year history that they will be hosted in Europe. Northern Ireland won the right to host the Games in 2007 following a competitive bid process led  by Dame Mary Peters.