DCAL Minister and Maeve Kyle Launch NI Champions Website

New website celebrates Northern Ireland's Olympians and Paralympians

The Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and former Olympic athlete Maeve Kyle have unveiled a new website which celebrates athletes from the north of Ireland who have competed or will compete in the Olympic or Paralympic Games.

The NI Champions website (www.nichampions.org) has been produced by Culture Northern Ireland, and not only profiles our local sporting heroes but also provides valuable hands-on work experience for future creative entrepreneurs.

The NI Skillset Media Academy at the University of Ulster has supported work placements for creative industries students from the North West Regional College and Belfast Metropolitan College who are helping to develop the content on the website.

Carál Ní Chuilín said: 'The NI Champions website is an informative and inspirational celebration of athletes from the north who have competed in the modern Olympics and Paralympics. Records go back to 1908 and the website will continue to find and tell the stories of our sporting heroes.

'As well as providing information about athletes past and present the site also profiles the Cultural Olympiad and the link between sport and the arts which is featuring very prominently during the 2012 Games.'

The Minister congratulated the students who have been involved in designing the site and those who will be helping to develop new content: 'This has been a fantastic real life learning experience for local students who are aiming to enter the creative industries. It will continue to support film and media technology skills and provide industry experience to emerging creative talent.'

All in all, this project through celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic spirit aims to inspire and reinforce belief in the ability of local people to compete and succeed on the world stage.'

As well as featuring an interactive timeline of all medal winners from the north of Ireland, the website includes videos of gold medal-winning Paralympians Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, former Olympians Maeve Kyle, Charlie Nash and Hugh Russell, and some of our brightest prospects for London 2012.

The NI Champions website has been awarded the prestigious 2012 Olympics Inspire Mark – which recognises non-commercial organisations delivering projects and events inspired by the London 2012 Games.

David Lewis, director of Culture Northern Ireland, added: 'NI Champions was directly inspired by the 2012 Games to tell the inspirational stories of Northern Ireland’s past Olympians and Olympic successes, as well as the stories of artists who are taking part in exciting Cultural Olympiad projects.

'We are delighted at how the students have responded to the challenge of producing work in a 'real life' digital media environment. The quality of the films they have made speaks for itself.’

Visit the NI Champions website to watch more films and find out about the history of Olympians and Paralympians from the north of Ireland.