RIO 2016: French Guiana the perfect training base for Rio
FRENCH Guiana has emerged as an unlikely preparation camp for teams across the world ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
LOGO: French Guiana is hoping to prove excellent training bases as Brazil prepares to be the
centre of world sport for the next four years
A congregation featuring World Cup winner Bernard Lama and Olympic silver medallist Malia Metalla revealed the nation would provide the sporting infrastructure fit for building champions.
After the sun sets in London hundreds of nations will begin preparing for the world's two biggest sporting events with the GIP Guyane 2014-2016 team hoping to attract sport's top stars.
And bordering Brazil, with a similar climate and free access to sports facilities, the €35 million project hopes to not only benefit visiting nations but inspire its youthful population.
"From 2013 the sports world will be following the rhythm of the South American continent," said Roger-Michel Loupec, President of Guyane 2014-2016.
"French Guiana intends to offer sport federations the best possible training and preparation facilities whilst providing educational and sporting opportunities to our youthful population.
"We hope that if the world brings their athletes they will be inspired and they will look to use the facilities themselves.
"It is for the future and we want to leave a legacy and attract many nationalities, not just France, to use the facilities and breed more champions."
Ahead of 2014 Guyane's football facilities will be transformed with two stadiums significantly enlarged and renovated to attract the world's best sides.
And additional sporting infrastructure satisfying 20 Olympic sports should be ready by 2016 with 12 nations having already shown interest having visited various sites.
Guyane resident Lama, Vice-President of Guyane 2014-2016, believes the facilities offer athletes the perfect haven away from the immense expectation that surrounds major tournaments.
And the 1998 World Cup winner hopes the French region will have the opportunity to showcase their credentials on an international stage, proving their worth in the process.
"It offers the athletes to get away from the intense pressure they have to deal with," said Lama. "They can prepare to a high standard in the land of champions.
"As an athlete you need to be able to rest and prepare yourself and the better facilities will make it easier for them to do this.
"This project has been taken to heart by all the athletes of Guyane because they would like to have the stars of the world come here and it will also give us an economical boost by attracting tourists.
"With facilities we have ambition and I hope that in future we have the chance to host competitions."
® Sportsbeat 2012