The Sports Minister has announced that five more countries are to train here in preparation for the 2012 Games.

Three boxing teams from Columbia, Canada and Puerto Rico and two athletics teams from Algeria and Djibouti are to train here over the next couple of weeks.

Carál Ní Chuilín said: “This is terrific news and a wonderful honour to be hosting all of these countries over the next few weeks. Fifteen countries choosing our venues to train as they prepare for the London 2012 Games is a tremendous achievement. This is also a vote of confidence in our venues and hospitality and a boost for local athletes who will watch and compete with the best in the world on their own home ground.”

“In addition we welcome wheelchair fencers from Hungary, Russia, England, Scotland and Wales for a training event which begins at the University of Ulster today. The Irish Paralympic team will arrive here at the end of the week to train at the Antrim Forum.

“In recent weeks we have witnessed how the visit of the Olympic Flame has captured the imagination of local people, there is no doubt that the pre-Games training camps will have the same impact and will inspire many sports men and women of the future.

Chair of Sport Northern Ireland, Dominic Walsh, added: “Sport Northern Ireland has worked very hard with our Department and many others to attract as many Olympic and Paralympic athletes as possible in the run up to the 2012 Games.

“We are delighted so many of them have chosen to base themselves here before entering the Olympic Village and I would like to offer them all a very warm welcome.”