RUSSIA'S star athletes may be coming to Basildon for the London 2012 games.

The Russian Olympic Federation has asked Basildon Council about using the planned sports village in Gloucester Park as a training camp.

The Echo has learned the federation approached council chiefs at an international developers' conference in Cannes last month.

Adam Keating, spokesman for Basildon Renaissance Partnership, said: "The Basildon team was approached by a representative from the federation who expressed an interest in the sports village, and potentially basing the Russian Olympic team in Basildon.

"Bala Mahendran, chief executive, and council leader Malcolm Buckley, have since sent a letter to the federation inviting representatives to visit Basildon and discuss the sports village plans."

Chief executive Mr Mahendran was keen to point out the sports village offer was not exclusive to the Russians.

He said: "We were approached by the Russians, but continue to look at a number of different teams that may wish to use Basildon as a sporting base for the 2012 games.

"We are committed to developing a sporting village for the benefit of the Basildon community.

"However, we must also explore how we can use the wonderful opportunity of the 2012 Games to showcase Basildon.

"This would not only raise the area's profile, but offer excellent economic benefits and potential job opportunities."

"Ultimately, if we are fortunate enough to have a selection of teams banging at our door, we will look to the one that will bring the most benefit and opportunity to the area and people of Basildon."

Although yet to be built, the sports village is included in the official list of training camps.

Mr Mahendran said he hopes to promote the village at this year's Beijing Olympics.