Gaels to host world-class meet

Queen’s wins bid for international cross-country championships

Queen’s will be hosting the 2010 World University Cross-Country Championships on their home turf
at Fort Henry Hill.

Joe Morisette, a representative of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, went to Italy last week to present
Kingston’s bid to the International University Sport Federation (FISU) board of governors. Kingston is the only Canadian city to have put in a bid for any 2010 FISU event.

Shane Lakins, bid co-ordinator and head coach of the Queen’s crosscountry team, said his experience
as head coach of Team Canada at the 2000 World University Cross-Country Championships in Germany and again in 2002 in Spain assured him that Kingston was properly equipped for the event.

“Having been to some of the championships, I knew that we were capable of hosting this.”

Queen’s hosted the Ontario University Athletics championships in 1996, and Lakins said he wasn’t pleased with the way the event was run. “After the race, we went into the gym and had a warm Coke and sandwiches, and people came in and yelled out where everyone finished. It’s not the way championships should be run.”

Lakins said the nature of crosscountry means that Queen’s athletics facilities will need very few modifications to accommodatethe athletes and coaches. “There are some things we’d like to change … but there’s a lot of stuff that’s already provided for us,” he said. “That’s really the beauty of cross-country; you don’t need a manicured fairway. It can be ankle deep mud or snow or hardpacked round.” He said the next thing on the agenda is to begin soliciting corporate sponsorship.

Gary Kelly, Sport Tourism and Event Manager for Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO), said Kingston is well set up to provide the kinds of services that will be needed.

“We’ve shown [FISU] what Kingston has to offer as in facilities, as in infrastructure, hotels, other
things that athletes can do while they’re in Kingston.” Kelly cited Kingston’s travel infrastructure as one of its greatest strengths. He said local hotels are on board with the project, and athletes won’t have difficulty getting from their accommodations to the course.

He said hosting an event like this will help not only the athletic reputation of the city, but also boost the tourism industry as a whole.“We have a chance to sell Kingston as a destination.”Lakins agreed.
“I think whenever you host a major event … you have an opportunity to set a standard and do something special.” He added that he thinks Queen’s has something unique to offer athletes from around the world. “We know we can host a good event. We know that. I think it’s the little things we do beyond hosting that really makes it special for the athletes and coaches.”

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