Paralympics boost for city

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SHEFFIELD has signed up a major international sports team to use the city as its training camp before the 2012 Paralympic Games.

The Canadian men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams have agreed to use facilities in Sheffield for training.

The agreement will be marked by a GB versus Canada wheelchair basketball game at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this afternoon.

Paul Zachau, high performance director at Wheelchair Basketball Canada, said: “There’s only one year to go now before we’ll be playing in the most important games of our career, so we need to train in the very best facilities and against the best opposition.

“Sheffield gives us both, and we are excited to be here today confirming our intentions for our pre-Games training camps.”

Coun Helen Mirfin-Boukouris, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, jobs and growth, said: “Sheffield is the sporting home of many Olympians and Paralympians and I am delighted to welcome the Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team to the city.

“It is important for Sheffield to attract pre-Games training camps, both because of the economic boost they bring to the city, and the inspiration they give to people throughout the city to get more involved in sport.”

Canada are ranked 7th in the World based on the last World Championships.

Gary Verity, chair of Yorkshire Gold, the Olympics arm of the Welcome to Yorkshire tourism organisation, said: “Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular Paralympic events and the Canadians can be sure of a warm Yorkshire welcome.

“Paralympics tickets go on sale on September 9 and we’re hoping Canada will inspire the people of Yorkshire to get involved both locally and down at London 2012.”

Paul Hudson, general manager of EIS Sheffield and chairman of the Wheelchair Basketball National Performance Group, said: “Canada are one of the best Paralympic teams in the world so it will be fantastic to welcome the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball squads to EIS Sheffield for this pre-Games training camp.”