The man leading "controversial plans" to construct a potential F1 racetrack in debt-stricken Greece has defended the project and said "my life's work" will benefit rather than burden the country, according to Graham Wood of REUTERS. Last month, Greece's Ministry of Development confirmed it had "unblocked a European funding subsidy" of €29.5M ($37.8M) for the construction of an int'l-standard racetrack that could be used for staging F1. The track will be built in Chalandritsa near the western port city of Patras. The ministry estimated the cost at €94.6M, ($121M), 70% of which is to be funded by private investment company Racetrack Patras. Racetrack Patras Head Evangelos Floratos said, "Critics in the foreign media believe that the state will subsidise the circuit running cost, this is a false idea." Floratos will "oversee the project to build the track," which he hopes can act as a testing center for F1 teams. Meanwhile, Greece "waits with a multitude of other nations to try to secure a lucrative annual F1 race." Floratos: "This project belongs to the private sector, it does not expect state funding for its operational costs. It is also wrongly assumed that we are aiming at organising a Formula One race, which is an event often subsidised by the national government. This is not our primary goal." The circuit "will be designed to host other events" including world championship motorbike grand prix and go-kart racing. Floratos said, "Our chief aim is to operate the track 365 days per year, offer a high quality service to motor sport professionals and thus develop business and employment for the local community" (REUTERS, 11/5).
Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez presented the new projects for the enlargement of the club's training ground in the urban development of Valdebebas in Madrid, on Monday, according to José Félix Díaz of ELCONFIDENCIAL.com. The announcement at the Santiago Bernabéu was attended by Madrid Regional President Ignacio González, Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, and a number of players from both the football and basketball teams. Botella "took advantage of the opportunity" to reveal that if the 2020 Olympic Games are awarded to Madrid, the city would use Valdebebas to host the rugby and field hockey events (ELCONFIDENCIAL.com, 11/5). AS reported that the project would be finished by the spring. Pérez said, "The project is a culmination of a promise and will be an authentic site for our young players... With this project the club grows, its support for the young players grows as does its heritage" (AS, 11/5). L'EQUIPE reported that the project includes a residency for young players with 56 double rooms and another residency for the first team with 60 individual rooms and a cafeteria." Pérez said, "It is the first time in 110 years of existence that Real Madrid will have a residency reserved for players formed at the club" (L'EQUIPE, 11/5).
Expensive biomechanical analysis equipment at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Pakistan is now "set to be used, after years of neglect," according to PAKISTAN TODAY. The Pakistan Cricket Board has also "approved renovation work" at the NCA indoor school and is "updating it with a modern video simulator." The biomechanical equipment was procured for about Rs 44M ($460,000) when Nasim Ashraf was PCB chairman, and was "meant to be installed" by Dec. '08. Since then all the equipment -- 18 cameras along with the other supporting apparatus and the relevant software -- "have been unused." The NCA biomechanics lab is equipped with state of the art Advanced Motion Capture Architecture from the U.K.-based Vicon Motion Systems Ltd. The lab will operate with 18 motion-capture cameras and six high-speed video cameras. The lab was "temporarily activated" at the NCA indoor school earlier in '08 by the Vicon experts. It was later "shut down" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 11/5).
COSTLY EQUIPMENT: PTI reported that a former PCB official, who was in office when the equipment was brought to Lahore, admitted "costly equipment had been badly neglected." The official said, "It is a good thing that finally someone in the board has realised the importance of using this very modern equipment, and in Pakistan cricket we have regular issues with bowling actions of bowlers and need this equipment to correct their actions at an early stage." The official said that once the building is ready for the lab, experts from Vicon would install it and the project will be "managed by a biomechanics expert, doctors, a mathematician, computer analysts and coaches" (PTI, 11/5).