Bolton is all set for an exciting year-long programme of sporting events and activities to coincide with a massive year of UK sport.
The council has designated 2012 as a ‘Year of Sport’ to recognise the unprecedented year ahead for the UK and to ensure residents and visitors of all ages get the chance to join the celebrations and take part in sports, events and activities throughout the year at a local level.
Bolton’s special year has its official launch on Thursday January 26 at the Reebok Stadium, home of premiership football team Bolton Wanderers, and in the shadow of the nearby ‘Spirit of Sport’ sculpture which stands taller than the Angel of the North.
The launch event will be made more special by the presence of home-grown sporting talent and Bolton Wanderers players Kevin Davies and Fabrice Muamba as well as borough dignitaries including the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Noel Spencer and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Cliff Morris.
The year-long celebrations include competitions for elite athletes, taster sessions for beginners as well as a packed cultural programme, which includes Bolton’s famous Food and Drink Festival. As part of the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics, Bolton is also the first overnight stop in Greater Manchester for the Olympic Torch Relay during its UK-wide tour and is one of only 66 UK destinations chosen to act as an overnight host.
Other highlights of a packed year include hosting the English National Badminton Championships; the Horwich Festival of Racing; the 2012 Bolton Schools’ Summer Games; English Schools Cross Country Cup Final and the Bolton 2012 Games.
But the sporting excitement doesn’t stop there … as well as torch relay and overnight celebration; the annual ‘One Bolton Matchday’ (which celebrates the culture and diversity of the borough) will take place at the Reebok and the UK leg of the international ‘Ironman’ event, which attracts thousands of visitors to the town centre every year, will return for its fourth year.
The imminent opening ceremony of Bolton One, a purpose built health, leisure and research centre, developed in an exciting partnership between Bolton Council, NHS Bolton and the University of Bolton at a cost of £31m will kick off a fantastic year for the town too.
Speaking about Bolton Council’s Year of Sport, Leader of the Council, Councillor Cliff Morris said: “Bolton is proud of its sporting heritage and continues to invest in sport at a grassroots level. The UK has an exciting year ahead, full of sport and celebration and here in Bolton the council is making sure the town and its residents join the party.
“That’s why we’ve developed the Year of Sport to join together existing events, as well as creating new ones just for this year that will encourage all ages – but especially young people – to get involved in sport and improve their fitness, well-being and overall health.
“Hopefully the Bolton Council Year of Sport will also be the moment for some young people when they will get into sport for the first time and, who knows, we could create a few Olympic stars of the future as a result!”