North West Wales

London 2012: Holyhead weightlifting centre opens officially

A weightlifting centre has been officially opened on Anglesey amid hopes a £300,000 revamp will produce top athletes.

Holyhead and Anglesey Weightlifting and Fitness Centre is now equipped for elite performers but is also looking to find and train stars of the future.

The club hopes it will be used as an Olympic training base for Albania.

Star member welterweight Gareth Evans, who trains with the GB Olympic squad in Leeds, was at the opening.

He will help former Commonwealth Games medallist Robert Wrench officially open the centre on Thursday.

The centre has been extended and refitted with the help of European funding.

New fitness programmes aimed at juniors, women and girls have been set up as the centre plans to enlist 50 new junior members, 48 new senior members and train a number of new coaches.

The centre was helped by the Wales Ireland Network for Social Entrepreneurship, which draws support from European coffers and a partnership between Ireland and Wales, as well as Sport Wales.

The centre is run by Ray Williams, Welsh national weightlifting coach and a Commonwealth Games gold medal winner.

'Desire and commitment'

He said: "This environment is going to be conducive for producing more for years and years and decades after I've gone.

"It opens another chapter in the club's history which is 40 years long and produced a number of champions."

Sport Wales north Wales manager Graham Williams said: "Ray has a desire and commitment to sport that we admire so much and the new centre is a credit to him.

"It goes to prove that if you've got a vision for what you want to do, that others can get behind, then anything is possible.

"This really is a venue that is set up to produce top quality athletes who will promote weightlifting and north Wales in competitions around the world."

The centre is waiting to hear if the Albanian national team is to use it as its base for the 2012 Olympics after it hosted the Chinese Weightlifting Association last year.

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