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High praise for agency's Olympic coverage

Leading sports officials have praised PA Sport’s “first rate” coverage of the Beijing Olympics which enabled a clutch of regional papers to run up-to-the-minute reports on the Games.

The agency’s team of 27 provided the very latest breaking news, results and reaction as it happened during a golden fortnight for Team GB, which enjoyed its most successful Olympics for 100 years.

Peter Whitfield, who has planned PA Sport’s coverage at the last three Olympics, led the team which included 13 sports journalists, four Beijing-based photographers and two multimedia video journalists. There were also reporters and photographers in Hong Kong and Qingdao.

It won plaudits from both Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, and Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe.

Simon said: “Without doubt the Press Association delivered a first-rate service during the Beijing Olympic Games. They consistently deliver breaking news as well as detailed coverage of all the sporting action. I would like to thank everyone involved at PA Sport for their continued support for Team GB.”

Gerry added: “As usual PA Sport led the way in the superb and accurate reporting of the Beijing Olympics. The Games were one of Britain’s most fantastic sporting occasions and PA Sport were always there when it counted.”

From PA Sport’s office in the main press centre in Beijing, more than 80 snaps and 150 nightleads were sent on the PA Sport wire, along with thousands of words of running copy. The team also sent 5,289 files of data – an average of 294 a day – including daily schedules, start lists, medals tables and results.

Podcasts produced by PA Sport – which featured leading Olympic stars of past and present from Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis to Chris Hoy, Christine Ohuruogu and Ben Ainslie – were used by the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Eastern Daily Press, The Newcastle Journal, Liverpool Echo, Northern Echo, Liverpool Daily Post, Daily Post North Wales, Shropshire Star, Yorkshire Post and Southern Daily Echo.

The coverage meant PA Sport’s many and varied customers, including regional and national newspapers, broadcast and digital services, were kept right up to date with all the action in Beijing, with several local newspapers making full use of up-to-minute reaction from athletes from their area.

Ian Campbell, managing director of PA Sport, said: “The feedback we are receiving from our customers tells us that, once again, PA Sport led the way in keeping them informed on a wonderful fortnight of international sport. The efforts of Pete and the team brought home the scale of the achievements by Team GB, and helped capture the spirit of the Games for our customers.

“With London 2012 on the horizon, we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the same high level of service throughout the next four years and beyond.”

Sports editor Ashley Broadley added: “I am immensely proud of our team in Beijing. It was a tremendous effort by each and every one of them. Months of planning went into the operation and we provided our customers with our usual high standard of quick and accurate copy.

“With the countdown now under way to London 2012, the team’s performance in Beijing reaffirmed the Press Association’s status as Britain and Ireland’s premier news agency.”