North reaps games' reward

July 26, 2002

More than 500 of the world's fittest sporting minds met in Manchester this week in the run-up to the 17th Commonwealth Games.

The 12th Commonwealth International Sport Conference, the biggest of its kind seen in the UK, brought together researchers and policy-makers from around the world to discuss sports science, physical education and health issues.

The conference, held at Manchester Metropolitan University, was hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and eight Northwest universities.

Presentations covered topics such as motivation in sport, developing sporting excellence, drugs and sport and sport as a business, as well as sessions on individual sports such as swimming.

Meanwhile, 4,820 athletes and officials settled into their accommodation in Manchester University's student halls in Fallowfield.

A university spokesman said: "Students will benefit from the legacy of the games, including a new security system, en suite bathrooms and use of the Aquatics Centre."

The £32 million centre is co-owned by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester University and MMU.

It is one of many new facilities and urban regeneration projects set to benefit the region. The universities hope the facilities will attract world-class athletes to study in the Northwest.

The spokesman said that the games, which began yesterday, would have longer-term effects as academics forged contacts with sports' governing bodies and opened new research areas.

Salford University's construction and property management department used virtual-reality modelling to help design the 38,000-capacity Commonwealth Games stadium in the city.

Software that has been developed by the university will be used by security officials to anticipate crowd movement.

Half the members of MMU's exercise and sports science department, rated 5* for its research, have been involved in coaching athletes, including MMU student Nicholas Diaper, who will be swimming for Kenya. Mr Diaper is studying for a BSc in sports, coaching and exercise science. He was trained by MMU's Paul Holmes and Dave Day.

In the spirit of Commonwealth goodwill, Manchester and Salford universities, MMU and Umist will award their first joint degrees next week.

Honorary degrees go to, among others, four-minute miler Roger Bannister and Commonwealth gold medal winner, runner Diane Modahl.

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