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London 2012: Lord Coe opens £15m Loughborough SportPark

Lord Sebastian Coe and Olympic diver Tom Daley officially opens Loughborough University's £15m SportPark
Image caption Lord Coe (right) was joined by Olympic diver Tom Daley (left) at the opening

Lord Coe returned to his former university in Loughborough to officially open a £15m development.

The London 2012 chairman was joined by Olympic diver Tom Daley at SportPark, which has state-of-the-art facilities including a indoor gymnastics centre, athletics track and swimming pool.

The centre is home to a number of the UK's sport governing bodies.

Lord Coe also launched the Charnwood Schools Olympics Torch relay to mark 400 days until the start of the games.

'Centre of excellence'

The former Olympian said SportPark is the latest addition to the university's "world class facilities".

Image caption Many of the UK's sport governing bodies are based at SportPark

"Loughborough has always been surrounded by world class elite competitors and the SportPark is an important ingredient," Lord Coe said.

"It's a space to create some of the thinking around the Olympic Games next year and the legacy beyond."

He added that although the university's facilities had developed, "the ethos of great coaching" in sport had not changed throughout the decades.

"My own career was impacted on in a very big way by the coaches here, who said they were going to do things differently," he said.

Lord Coe said the university, which is the official preparation camp headquarters for Team GB and Japan, is "not just a domestic centre of excellence".

"If you go anywhere in the world people know about Loughborough University." he said.

Tim Garfield, deputy director for sport at Loughborough University said: "We have national performance centres based here in a range of sports including cricket, athletics and swimming and they are all now pushing the boundaries in the use of science and technology in the quest for ultimate performance."

During the opening, 400 schoolchildren were given the opportunity to relay with the London 1948 torch, which was made in Loughborough.

The torch, donated by Loughborough College, will embark on a 12-month tour to visit 65 schools in the town "to inspire children who could be our future Olympians".

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