IHRSA names club operator of the year
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IHRSA names club operator of the year

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The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) will award its first European Club Operator of the Year award to Mike Balfour, Chief Executive of UK-based Fitness First. The award will be presented at the second annual IHRSA European congress in Madrid, Spain in October.

Since it was founded in 1992, Balfour has nurtured Fitness First to become Europe's largest club operator, with over 270 facilities serving over 630,000 members in 14 countries worldwide.

Since 1997, Fitness First has grown from £5.7m to an estimated £220m. The company's annual results have consistently exceeded expectations and as of June 2002, Fitness First has attained a market capitalisation of approx. £400m.

Confirming why Mike Balfour has been chosen as European operator of the year, IHRSA Executive Director John McCarthy says:

Mike Balfour has kept Fitness First focussed on its goal of providing affordable fitness to the market. He has developed a business model that travels, which has helped facilitate the rapid expansion of the company without sacrificing quality.'

McCarthy believes that Fitness First's strong financial performance has had a positive impact on the health and fitness industry.

'Under Mike Balfour's leadership, Fitness First's steady growth and financial strength have distinguished the company as a leader in the international health club industry. The company's achievements have advanced the interests of the entire industry.'

IHRSA's European club operator of the year award is sponsored by Technogym.

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The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) will award its first European Club Operator of the Year award to Mike Balfour, Chief Executive of UK-based Fitness First.
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