May 5/06 3:44 am - Victoria to Host 2007 UCI BMX World Championship
Posted by Editoress on 05/5/06
West Shore to Host 2007 UCI BMX World Championships
Victoria BMX 2007 World Championship Society
The world's best BMX racers and over 7,000 fans will converge on the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and Greater Victoria's West Shore communities in July 2007 for the BMX World Championships, it was announced today.
The organizing committee made the official announcement just a week before officials from the Union Cycliste International, the world governing body for cycling, will visit the area to do a technical site inspection.
BMX is a form of bicycle racing over an undulating and twisting dirt track between 300 and 400 meters in length. It started on the West Coast of the United States in the 1970s and has grown rapidly in popularity all over the world. The sport appeals to both boys and girls, has a strong family-orientation and encourages life-long participation.
Mayor Jody Twa of Colwood, in whose jurisdiction the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre is located, said this was a perfect site for the event in 2007.
The West Shore is an ideal community in the ideal province to host the 2007 Championships. We are close to the birthplace of the sport, have strategic links to China and the rest of Asia and are conveniently located between Europe and Australia two of the hotbeds of BMX racing, said the Mayor.
Langford's Mayor Stewart Young said the event will be another milestone in the development of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.
The Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre has been spectacularly successful as a sport, recreation and social centre for the West Shore communities for many years. Hosting a world-class event in a growing sport just one year before it makes its appearance in the Olympics will put our recreation complex on the map internationally and leave behind a BMX facility to be used by generations of young people, he said.
Recognizing the exciting and edgy nature of the sport, with a youthful appeal similar to that of snowboarding, the International Olympic Committee made the decision to introduce the sport into the Olympics starting with the 2008 Games in Beijing.
The World Championships provide classifications for elite riders as well as all-comers thus ensuring high participation rates. The 2006 event will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil; last year it was held in Paris.
The event, which will take place July 26 - July 29, 2007, will attract more than 9,000 visitors, including 2,500 competitors from 40 nations with the average stay expected to be seven days.
An event of this magnitude will have a huge impact on West Shore and surrounding communities, said Les Underwood, Chair of the Victoria BMX 2007 World Championship Society. Direct economic impact will be more than $7 million and the event will have a significant impact on the development of cycling, not only in this area but also across Canada.
The West Shore bid to host the event won over two other Canadian cities and against international bids by cities in Austria and Australia. Although there is a BMX track at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, a new, world-class track will be constructed and left as a legacy of the Championships.
The organizing committee is seeking contributions from three levels of government and the private sector to fund the $2 million event.