JULY 7 - A DEBATE over Wales being overlooked as a venue for the mountain bike event during the 2012 Olympics has continued with the Conservative Shadow Minister for Tourism defending London officials.


Welsh officials want the event moved to Margam, near Port Talbot, in South Wales, because of problems over finding a suitable venue in Essex but London 2012 are close to agreeing a deal to keep it in the county.


Tobias Ellwood told a Conservative business relations seminar in Cardiff that, despite other areas in the country having the capability to stage events, that London 2012 had to keep events close to the Capital otherwise they would not have been awarded the Games.


He said: “Essex has been chosen for staging the mountain biking event, when Wales has some of the best facilities for this sport in the world.


“Bisley is the home of rifle shooting in this country and is internationally renowned as a world-class venue.


“The fault lay in the parameters of the bid put to the International Olympic Committee, but Britain as a whole would have lost out had the bid included these examples.”


As first reported on insidethegames last month, Hadleigh Castle Country Park has been identified as the proposed new venue for the mountain biking after the International Cycling Federation (UCI) ruled out the Weald Country Park in Essex because they claimed that it was not challenging enough for the world's top riders.