Athletes competing in this summer’s Olympics have arrived on Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk campus to start an intensive training regime in preparation for the Games.
The University is one of only three universities in the north-west that has been chosen to deliver the pre games training camps for a number of Pacific Island National Olympic Committees.
Swimmers and track and field athletes from the Federated States of Micronesia have already arrived on campus, with teams from the Marshall Islands and wrestlers from American Samoa arriving shortly to start their training programmes as they gear up for London 2012.
Dr Tony Charlton, Associate Head of Sports Development and Sports Studies at the University, said: “After working on this project for four years it’s fantastic to finally welcome the first of the athletes on campus. We’ll ensure that they work hard during the time they are here to improve on their personal best.
“We have a number of student volunteers who are working to support them during their stay, introducing them to the culture and social scene in the north-west. It’s a unique opportunity for our students to be involved in such a high-profile event and I’m sure they will gain a lot from this exciting time.
“It’s a great chance to get staff, students and the local community involved in the experience and bring some of London 2012 to Ormskirk. My ultimate aim is to ensure that it leaves a lasting legacy and that the athletes will take the skills they have learnt and use them back home to pass on to others and build on their community sports.”
While on campus the sportspeople will make full use of University’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the running track, sports therapy clinic, the biomechanics labs, the gym, Student Hub and halls of residences.
It is the second time that swimmer Debra Daniel, 21, will be competing in the Olympics in the 50m freestyle. She said: “It’s beautiful here and I can’t wait to start training and learning new techniques. Back at home we don’t have a pool so I’m used to training in the ocean or the rivers, so this will be different for me again – it will be very modern. The last time I competed it was an amazing experience, we were treated like stars and I loved it. This time, for me I want to make sure I beat my own personal best.”
For 30-year-old John Howard it’s the first time he will be competing in the 100m sprint. He said: “It’s a great honour to be picked to represent our county. Going to the Olympics is the highest level you can reach and I feel like I’ve already accomplished something. I’m looking forward to working with high class coaches and making new friends. I work with a community club back home and I want to use my experience to teach the children I work with.”
Other athletes from the Federated States of Micronesia are Mihter Wendolin, 25, competing in the 100m sprint, and Kerson Hadley, 23, doing the 50m freestyle race.
The athletes will be on campus until 23rd July when they then head to the Olympic Village in London, which caters for 16,000 athletes and officials from 200 countries taking part in the Games.