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Council Supports Local Swimming Sensation in Olympic Bid

South Lake Leisure Centre’s impressive Olympic-sized 50m pool has been put to the test by local swimmer, Daniel Wiffen from Magheralin, who has his sights set on the winning gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer!

Daniel, who has represented Ireland in the European Junior Championships, World Junior Championships and European Senior Championships, and broken nine Irish junior records and two Irish senior records, is currently in training using the competition-ready, 50m pool at the new centre.

The dedicated swimmer, who ranks 13th in the world, was taught how to swim by one of council’s very own swimming instructors. Even then, his talent shone through and over the years he has received sports bursaries from council and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum to support him in reaching his goals.

So Much Support

One of Northern Ireland’s top aquatic athletes and a member of Larne Swimming Club, he recently moved to Loughborough to study and train. He comments: “Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has given me so much support during my training and over the past number of years, which I am very grateful for.

“I have been very fortunate to be allowed to swim through most of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was even training in a paddling pool in the garden at one point! I hope my success encourages other swimmers who are unable to swim at the moment to achieve their dreams when they return back to the pool, whatever age they are. The facilities such as the 50m pool in the new South Lake Leisure Centre are ideal to train in and enjoy – we are very lucky we have such excellent facilities across the borough.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Kevin Savage, adds: “Daniel is a wonderful ambassador for our borough. His dedication, talent and determination has helped him enjoy an enviable record-breaking sports career to date. We are delighted to support and encourage Daniel in any way we can – it’ll be all eyes on Tokyo now! I and everyone at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, wish Daniel the very best of luck in his Olympic bid!.”

Commitment, Train hard and Maintain focus

Daniel’s Father, Jonathan Wiffen, said “We are absolutely delighted for Daniel. It hasn’t always been an easy journey, but it just goes to show that if you show commitment, train hard and maintain focus then your dreams can come true. We are also so proud and happy to be part of a council area that has supported him all the way through.”

All budding athletes and swimmers out there inspired by Daniel’s story should note that council’s leisure centres and community centre gyms have reopened their doors to the public once again for individual training, one-to-one coaching and individual swim sessions!

To help make your visit as simple as possible, Get Active ABC has launched the new ‘getactiveabc’ leisure booking fitness app to help users quickly and easily book their gym/swim session or class activity and much more!

You can download the ‘getactiveabc’ app from the Google Play or App Store.

Football

Mayor Welcomes New Stand at Greenisland Football Club

Pictured is Mayor Councillor Peter Johnston, Deputy Mayor Andrew Wilson, Cllr Bobby Hadden, MEABC Director of Operations Philip Thompson and Mervyn Montgomery, Greenisland Football Club.

Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston along with Deputy Mayor, Cllr Andrew Wilson and Cllr Bobby Hadden visited Greenisland Football Club to see the commencement of the works to provide a new 128-seater spectator stand and turnstiles, which will bring the grounds up to meet Intermediate League status requirements.

Mid and East Antrim Council in partnership with Greenisland Football Club have been working together to deliver this new stand. Through working in partnership, the club have been able to secure £45,000 of external funding and along with a contribution from the club Council are contributing £35,000 to deliver the £90,000 spectator stand.

Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston said: Once again, I would like to pay tribute to Greenisland Football Club and in particular the time and commitment that the club members put into progressing this project.

“As a Council, we have been delighted to help fund a portion of this work and to enable the vision and objectives of the club to be met.

“Greenisland Football Club are a fantastic club and it is no surprise that they have recently been recognised from UEFA as one of the top grass roots football clubs in Europe.”

Mervyn Montgomery, Greenisland Football Club said: “We are indebted to the on-going support of our External Funders and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, to enable us to build upon the existing facilities at Greenisland and to develop further our Community Sports Programs and Longer Terms Plans for the Club.”

This new stand will further enhance the major investment Mid and East Antrim Council made in 2018 through the delivery of a new 3G facility on the back of £100,000 of funding the club secured from SportNI.

The Club and Council had also secured external funding to upgrade the grass pitches, which are owned by the Council, in 2018 at a cost of £50,000.

Mid and East Antrim Council are committed to working with all groups within the borough to ensure that our ratepayers and residents have top class facilities which will improve their quality of life and their health and well-being.

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Sport

Daley and Laugher Amongst GB Divers Heading for Tokyo

Tom Daley and Jack Laugher are named in a phenomenally strong 12-person diving squad heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in less than two months’ time.

After a terrific performance at the FINA Diving World Cup in the Japanese capital last month – a competition that also doubled up as the Olympic test event – Team GB will be represented by a full complement of divers in every single event, after the four remaining places were secured.

Laugher, reigning Olympic champion, is one of the household names selected, and he heads to Japan to defend that crown. He will also target a second Olympic medal in the individual 3m Springboard event, after taking silver in that competition five years ago.

Laugher will be joined in the synchro by Rio 2016 bronze medallist Daniel Goodfellow, with Edinburgh’s James Heatly the other pick in the 3m individual.

Daley will once again double up in Tokyo, contesting both the 10m Platform and 10m Synchro events, the latter of which he won Olympic bronze in alongside Goodfellow in Rio. Now diving with Matty Lee in the synchro event, the Jane Figueiredo-coached duo will head to Japan full of confidence, after winning both the World Cup and European Championship titles last month.

Dive London athlete Daley also famously took bronze in the individual event at London 2012, and will look for further Olympic success in Tokyo – he also has two World titles to his name in that 10m Platform event. Joining him from the high board in the individual contest will be Noah Williams, whilst Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson will go in the women’s event, with Toulson partnered by Eden Cheng in the synchro.

Grace Reid, Kat Torrance and Scarlett Mew Jensen round out the diving dozen, Reid contesting both the Women’s 3m Springboard and 3m Synchro, with Mew Jensen joining her in the former and City of Leeds’ Torrance in the latter.

Of the team heading for Tokyo, Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “It is a huge privilege to be able to welcome this talented group of athletes onto Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The performances we’ve consistently seen from these athletes throughout the recent World Cup and European competitions is testament to the hard work and dedication that the whole team has put in throughout what has been a very challenging year. Everyone who supports Team GB will be buoyed by what this team has achieved in recent weeks and will have every confidence that we will see more of these medal winning performances in Tokyo.

“Congratulations everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo in July.”

British Diving Performance Director, Alexei Evangulov, added: “This has been the longest Olympic cycle ever, however the hardest part of it was the last year – our team exceeded all my expectation in terms of coping with all the challenges we experienced during the pandemic. There were a lot; pools closures, isolation, quarantine, uncertainness, competitions postponements, you name it. Our divers not only managed to secure their physical and technical shape in this situation, but also significantly improved their diving quality.

“All of this, plus our coaches and staff’s professionalism allowed us to come up to the homestretch to Tokyo with a great confidence, high ambitions and belief.”

Great Britain Diving Team:

  • Eden Cheng, London, Crystal Palace Diving
  • Thomas Daley, Plymouth, Dive London
  • Daniel Goodfellow, Cambridge, City of Leeds
  • James Heatly, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Diving Club
  • Jack Laugher, Harrogate, City of Leeds
  • Matty Lee, Leeds, Dive London
  • Scarlett Mew Jensen, London, Dive London
  • Grace Reid, Edinburgh, Dive London
  • Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, London, Crystal Palace Diving
  • Katherine Torrance, Leeds, City of Leeds
  • Lois Toulson, Leeds, City of Leeds
  • Noah Williams, London, Dive London

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