London 2012 Olympic athletes train in Nerja

NERJA’S privileged climate has attracted a growing number of sportsmen and women in training for this summer’s London Olympics.

Eight hundred foreign athletes and footballers – 300 more than last year – are currently in Nerja, preparing for the four-yearly event.

The town’s “Turismo-Deporte” programme had been very well received, maintained Jose Alberto Tome, head of Nerja council’s Sports department.

Athletes from all over Europe are currently training in Nerja, thanks to a joint initiative between Nerja town hall and local hotels commenced three years ago, Tome said. “And thanks,” he stressed, “to our excellent sports facilities and hotels.”

Packages include hotel accommodation and the use of the municipal sports installations.

These include an athletics stadium, an astroturf football pitch and a heated, covered swimming pool.

Several foreign sports federations had chosen Nerja for the finishing touches to their athletes’s training programmes.

The Enrique Lopez Cuenca stadium and the adjoining were beginning to resemble a Olympic village, the councillor declared.

Athletes of all levels are currently training at the stadium although some were world famous.

Amongst the latter, he revealed, was Belgian Tia Hellebaut, high jump champion at the Beijing 2008 Games.

In the three years of Nerja’s Turismo-Deporte programme, more than 1,500 top flight athletes from Britain, Norway, Sweden and Germany have stayed in the town.

Although a football team pays up to €3,000 a week for morning and afternoon training sessions, the benefits to Nerja more than financial, Tome claimed.

Tourists like these were very professional and very disciplined, he said.

By Linda Hall

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