World games opener set for King's Hall
The King's Hall in Belfast has been chosen as the host venue for the opening ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games in August.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
A number of locations across Northern Ireland were researched in terms of access, facilities, capacity and costs before the landmark venue was eventually chosen on Wednesday evening.
The World Police and Fire Games Federation, its 2013 board and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure were all involved in the process.
The event, which runs from 1 - 10 August, is the third largest multi-sport competition in the world and is expecting to attract 10,000 contestants and 15, 000 visitors from 70 countries to the region.
Members of the police, fire, prison and border security services will compete in a range of 57 sports at 42 venues across the region.
The opening ceremony is the key official event during the Games, providing an opportunity to officially welcome athletes and their families to the host City.
John Tully, World Police and Fire Games
John Tully, Chief Executive, 2013 WPFG Ltd, said: "It is one of the many requirements of the World Police and Fire Games Federation that this ceremony is held to mark the beginning of ten days of competition and camaraderie.
"Whilst Belfast City Council have been working very hard on the content of the ceremony, it was equally important that the location would provide the right environment and opportunity to set the tone for the international multi-sport event and contribute to our goal of delivering the friendliest Games ever," he added.
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: "In recent times we have shown how the north is capable of hosting major occasions. From the MTV Music Awards, Titanic Centenary, Irish Open Golf through to the ongoing City of Culture Celebrations.
"I am confident that we will add the World Police and Fire Games to the list of memorable events. It is once again an opportunity to show the world what we have to offer," the Sinn Féin minister said.
Local DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt said: "This will be a tremendous boost to south Belfast and indeed the King's Hall, which is an excellent place to open this prestigious event."
The World Police and Fire Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland.
Three times the size of the Commonwealth Games - and surpassed only by the Olympics and World Masters - the 10-day event is expected to generate around £15m for the local economy.