Burnley plans to stage mini Olympics in 2012

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BURNLEY’S Olympic dream has moved a step closer to reality in the run-up to London 2012.

Plans to stage a mini Olympics to coincide with the Games next summer have been recommended for approval by Burnley Council’s Executive Committee.

Although the Olympic Torch Relay is to pass through the borough in June, there were fears there would be little to connect Burnley to the Olympics.

But leading figures believe the Burnley Olympic Challenge could spark a sporting revolution in the town.

Organisers are working with sports clubs and organisations to draw up a list of Olympic events such as athletics, swimming, gymnastics and boxing.

Conventional sports like badminton, basketball and football, as well as martial arts, may be included in the special summer of sports.

But there are plans to add other events not normally associated with the Olympics such as crown green bowling, darts, pool, cricket and golf.

Coun. Jeff Sumner, Executive member for leisure and culture, said: “Next year will be a massive one for sport in this country, and it’s important Burnley doesn’t miss out on the occasion.

“The 2012 London Olympics is a marvellous opportunity to encourage local people to take up sports and physical activity. The Olympic Torch Relay is passing through Burnley, and I’m sure interest in sport in general will increase.

“The aim of Burnley Olympic Challenge is to encourage people to get active, and to highlight and promote the excellent sports facilities we have in our borough.”

A working group of councillors, chaired by Coun. Andy Tatchell, has been established.

Burnley Olympic Challenge is likely to kick off on August 18th, and be repeated every four years.

The cost of the challenge will be capped at £9,000, and it is hoped it will be met through the council’s Ward Opportunities Fund, grants, and support from local sports clubs and other providers.

Coun. Tatchell said: “It is a great idea.

“At a time when many councils are looking to downgrade and cut leisure facilities, we can maybe get more people active and through the doors of the sports centres.

“It will give the town a massive boost. It is for youngsters right up to senior citizens.”