China and Leeds seal Olympic deal

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China’s Olympic Committee has sealed a deal to bring its teams to Leeds to train in the run-up to the London Games.

Athletes from eight sports will be based in the city in July and August after an official contract was signed at a ceremony in Beijing.

Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have signed the deal for China to send its athletes to Leeds to complete their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It is a historic agreement and a tremendous honour to be hosting some of the world’s leading athletes in our city.”

The deal follows months of negotiation after an agreement in principle was announced last August between the committee and Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, Bradford College and Wakefield Sports Club.

Around 220 Chinese athletes, coaches and support staff will arrive in Leeds from early July representing swimming, table tennis, fencing, Taekwondo, track and field athletics, boxing, hockey and canoe slalom.

It is estimated Leeds will benefit by £250,000 by hosting the teams this summer, and it is hoped the deal will also boost trade, commerce and tourism long-term.

Liu Aijie, of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said: “We are firmly convinced that the training camp of the Chinese sports delegation in Leeds will achieve great success with mutual trust, concerted efforts and friendly cooperation from both sides.”