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Southampton is to get its very own taste of London 2012, thanks to the installation of an adiZone - a giant multi-sport outdoor gym venue which aims to inspire the local community to get involved in sport.
The city has beaten off competition from around the country to host this prestigious facility, highlighting Southampton's commitment to the 2012 Olympic Games.
AdiZones, designed and developed by adidas, official Sportswear Partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, are permanent installations measuring 625 square metres. They boast facilities inspired by Olympic and Paralympic sports that include a basketball, football and tennis area, a climbing wall, an outdoor gym and an open area to encourage dance, aerobics and gymnastics.
The adizone will be launched in the city on Tuesday, 9 March by a mystery sports personality who is also an ambassador for adidas. Children from schools across Southampton will be attending on the day to watch and take part in lots of sporting activities from wheel chair basketball, abseiling and much more.
The project is part-funded by Southampton City Council and matched by the DCSF with a contribution from adidas and represents great value for money.
Free to use and open 365 days a year, Southampton's adiZone will be the most impressive facility of its kind in the city. It will be installed in Mansell Park, Millbrook and will open from mid-March 2010.
The adiZone will serve and strengthen local communities from across Southampton - as a space where young people can meet socially while being encouraged to play sports. Local coaches and sports club organisers will be invited to attend the site to spot talent and encourage young people to join local clubs and sporting organisations.
adiZones were initially installed by adidas in four of the London 2012 host boroughs and are now being introduced to towns and cities across the UK as preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games gather pace.
Councillor Phil Williams is Southampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Local Services. He said: "We're always looking for new ways to encourage our young people to get involved in sport. adiZone is the latest of these and I'm excited that Southampton City Council has been able to secure this great facility for Southampton. It's particularly fitting that this facility will be sited in Millbrook as we know there is a lot of enthusiasm for sports in the area - I believe this will be a great way of bringing people together from the local community and beyond."
Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said: "This will be the only facility of its kind in the South and I am expecting it to be hugely popular. It will be used by local residents as well as groups and organisations. Southampton City Council has committed a substantial amount of money and resources into this project and we are delighted to be teaming up with adidas to provide our city with this wonderful park."
Nick Craggs, adidas Director of Marketing, added: "As a London 2012 sponsor, adidas believes it is vitally important that free sporting facilities are made available and accessible if we are truly going to get the nation participating in sport. To date the installation of adiZones has brought groups of young people together to get involved in a variety of sports and improved community relations, echoing the legacy that the London 2012 Games hopes to achieve."
Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: "It's fantastic to see adidas expanding the adiZone programme to Southampton. The adiZones inspire young people to become more active and help make our vision of encouraging young people to get involved with sport a reality."