British cyclists’ haul of nine gold medals in the UCI Track Cycling World Championships marked a sparkling start to six of the best sporting events to be held in Manchester this year.
Their success came in five action-packed days of top class cycling at the Velodrome, National Cycling Centre at Sportcity, Manchester, involving cyclists from 37 countries.
On the final day of the Championships the UCI President, Pat McQuaid, described the event as the most successful world track championships ever staged by the UCI.
And next week 800 swimmers from 126 countries will be making a huge splash in two pools specially built in the MEN arena, Europe's most successful sports and entertainment venue, for the 9th FINA World Swimming Championships 2008 (25m), the first world swimming championship of its kind to be staged in the UK.
Then in May, there will be a further three major sporting events in the city, the Paralympic World Cup, the UEFA Cup Final 2008 and BUPA Great Manchester Run.
And finally in October top international players will be raising a racquet in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships Manchester 2008.
"The success of the British cyclists at Manchester's Velodrome reinforced the venue's status as a world class centre for top level sport," said Councillor Mike Amesbury, Deputy Executive Member for Arts and Leisure for Manchester City Council.
"Other top level events coming up - including next week's world swimming championships at the MEN Arena - will build on Manchester's already-strong reputation as a major sporting city and strengthen our hand when bidding to host future top class sporting events.
"The events will involve thousands of local people as competitors, spectators and volunteers. The benefits of these major sports events are also being spread throughout the community through linked events for children and young people and through the city's extensive sports development and community sports programme."
Manchester World Sport 08 builds on the city's burgeoning reputation as a major world sporting city, made possible by the development of excellent sports facilities and key strategic partnerships.
Manchester's sporting infrastructure includes the Sportcity Complex, home to the National Cycling and National Squash Centres, the Regional Athletics Arena and the City of Manchester Stadium.
Manchester is also the base for sports organisations such as The International Federation of Netball Associations, British Cycling, England Squash, British Water Polo, Sport Taekwondo and the Professional Footballers' Association.
Attracting sporting stars and their followers to the city will bring huge benefits, encouraging investment and generating revenue estimated to be around £16 million.
The events are being backed by both national and regional organisations, including Marketing Manchester, the official tourist board for Greater Manchester, Northwest Regional Development Agency and UK Sport.
Manchester World Sport 08 will also raise awareness of Manchester's outstanding sporting infrastructure and increase the involvement of community and youth groups across the city and the North-West.
Manchester residents and in particular the city's schools and community groups will be able to take part in a series of activities and competitions that will run alongside each event and will have the chance to use the numerous sports facilities at Sportcity.
The legacy of the Commonwealth Games has ensured the creation of an experienced and highly-skilled volunteer service, the continued growth of Manchester's sports events portfolio and one of the most successful sports development and community sports programmes in the country.
Manchester World Sport 08 is the culmination of a series of successful partnerships that have come together to deliver what will be a unique year of sport for Manchester. It will enable the city to explore future opportunities with National Governing Bodies and partners leading to 2012 and beyond.
Details of the six events
UCI Track Cycling World Championships was held 26 to 30 March 2008 British cyclists won nine gold medals during five action-packed days at the event, hailed as the most successful world track championships ever staged by the UCI by Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union. http://www.worldtrackcycling.com/
9th FINA World Swimming Championships 2008 (25m): 9 to 13 April 2008
Britain's biggest swimming event since the 2002 Commonwealth Games will feature 800 of the world's greatest swimmers from 126 countries competing in the first world swimming championship of its kind to be staged in the UK. http://www.manchester2008.com/
Paralympic World Cup: 7 to 11 May 2008.
The Paralympic World Cup is the only major international competition before the Beijing Paralympics and will be a major boost for British competitors aiming for medals in China. It will see an extended programme of events in athletics, swimming and track cycling, with the wheelchair basketball competition following the same thrilling format as in previous years. The new schedule is specifically designed to closely replicate conditions expected in Beijing in September. http://www.paralympicworldcup.com/
UEFA Cup Final 2008: 14 May 2008
The UEFA Cup Final 2008 will be held in the City Of Manchester Stadium, part of the Sportcity complex, which provides capacity of 48,000. The stadium was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is now home to Manchester City Football Club. The event is the world's largest club football competition, involving 80 clubs across Europe and the final, in Manchester, will be televised live in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. www.uefa.com/competitions/uefacup
BUPA Great Manchester Run: 18 May 2008
This annual event is now Britain's biggest and most prestigious 10km race and is recognised as one of the world's greatest road running competitions, with the elite race performances ranking highly in the world best performance lists every year. Past champions include the greatest distance runner of all time, Heile Gebrselassie. http://www.greatrun.org/
Hi-Tec World Squash Championships Manchester 2008: 11 to 19 October 2008
Recognised as the most important event in the world squash calendar and on the professional circuit, the event will attract the world's very best players, with representation from 40 countries. The 2008 event will be the first time that a combined men's and women's World Open Squash Championships have been held in the UK. With five British players in the men's top 20 world rankings, and six in women's, there are genuine chances for the GB players to win medals. http://www.worldsquash2008.com/
For information on Manchester World Sport 08 visit http://www.manchesterworldsport08.com/
Martin Hellewell, tel 0161 234 3729