Northern Ireland

NI image 'contributes to Olympics no-show'

Northern Ireland's image is one of the reasons why teams competing in the 2012 Olympics have so far not chosen it as a training base, Sport NI chief executive Eamonn McCartan has said.

Twenty-seven venues in Northern Ireland are included on a list of suitable sites for Olympic and Paralympic training camps.

Fifty-one teams have so far registered at other camps across the UK.

Mr McCartan said people were reluctant to take a risk.

"It wasn't that long ago that we had two young soldiers killed, we had a policeman killed and recently there was a report identifying the number of dissident issues that have occurred within the last year," he said

"People train their whole lives for this one performance in the Olympics - and they will take a safe and secure route that will get them to their best performance in London."

Mr McCartan said other reasons why Northern Ireland had not been chosen included geographical location, travel costs and access to competition venues.

In September, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure announced it had to make savings of approximately £17m from next year through to 2015.

Representatives of the National Badminton Centre in Lisburn have said they are "60% confident" of confirming in the new year that the venue will be used as a base for a nation competing in the 2012 Olympics.