Multi-sports center to be built in Haiti

Acapulco: The International Olympic Committee announced plans to build a multi-sports development center in the earthquake-hit nation of Haiti.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the center will represent a "lasting legacy" as the island nation tries to recover from January`s quake that killed as many as 300,000 people.

The Haiti center will be the second in the IOC`s "Sports For Hope Program," following a USD 10 million facility in Zambia that opened in May and caters for nearly 1,000 athletes per month training in 21 different sports.

Adams said the Haiti center will be modeled on the Zambian facility, though the exact location, size and cost is yet to be decided.

He said the IOC executive board heard positive reports about the Zambia center, which boasts outdoor and indoor tracks, fields and other facilities as well as classrooms, a library, and Internet lab.

"One of the main reasons we chose Haiti was because of the recent earthquake there, so it was decided that would be a good place to take our help and try to take sport development to the people of Haiti," Adams said.

The IOC spokesman said the hope was that a permanent center would be more useful to rebuilding efforts than one-time aid donations.

"Straight humanitarian aid is always welcome," he said. "But I think the IOC felt that what we could do best is to offer the help and expertise that we have, which is obviously in the sporting domain."

He said the Olympic center "provides a more lasting legacy."

Adams also said an IOC-sponsored annual athletes` forum will be held in Colorado Springs, Colo, in 2011.

Bureau Report