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City welcomes its Olympic visitors with special event
11:40am Saturday 14th July 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
Olympians from India, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam are preparing for the London Games at a training camp in Bradford.
They were met yesterday at Bradford College’s Trinity Green sports centre by Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Dale Smith, former Sports Minister and Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe, schoolchildren and Manningham Olympic torch-bearer Khalil Hussain.
Bradford College, the University of Bradford and University Academy Keighley are lending their facilities to athletes including boxers, gymnasts and swimmers.
The Lord Mayor said there was a “tremendous buzz” about the sports hall yesterday.
He said: “It’s such a thrill to see all the schoolchildren who have come to see these fabulous athletes at the top of their trade, as it were, and on the way to the Olympics. It’s giving everybody in Bradford a legacy of the Olympics. The children are getting such a lot of benefit from seeing these stars.”
Mr Hussain, an inclusion officer at Springwood Primary who carried the Olympic torch through Lister Park during its visit to Bradford, said youngsters at the school had been enjoying learning to box.
He said: “It’s something they’ve taken to. For them to come here and see how it works, it doesn’t get much better, and for them to meet some of the athletes, it just fits really nicely.”
Mr Sutcliffe said he hoped the presence of the athletes would “inspire” the youngsters who attended yesterday’s event.
He said: “It shows the benefit of having training camps around the country.”
Boxing coach at the college Kevin Smith will be working with the Nigerian team in the run-up to the Olympics and as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
International project manager at the college Ronnie Todd, who injured his foot while dancing in Nigeria, said: “It has been fantastic to work with them, and they have been so impressed with the city of Bradford they have recruited our coach, Kevin Smith. For the college and the university, we get £40million annually from international activities – this is massive for us, its impact on city life. They are spending, they love the city.”
Ijeoma Egbunine, one of the Nigerian boxing squad coaches, said she thought Bradford was “beautiful”.
She said: “We’ve had a few challenges with the weather but we’re getting used to it.
“At the college the people are nice, they are efficient. I would recommend anyone to come here.”
And physiotherapy students at the University of Bradford will be working with the Olympians in the run- up to the games.
Lecturer Hilary Pape said: “It’s an opportunity we couldn’t miss.”