Edge Hill University supports Pacific Islands in preparations for London 2012
16 July 2012
Athletes from all over the world will be making final preparations for their Olympic campaign this week, and for competitors for the Pacific Islands, those preparations are taking place at Edge Hill University.
Sportsmen and women from Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and American Samoa have been using the University's facilities for the best part of a month, and are now entering the crucial final phase before they make the journey down to London today.
For one Olympian in particular, Edge Hill's state of the art environment has provided a welcome change.
Micronesian swimmer Debra Daniel explains: "It's beautiful here, very modern. Back at home we don't even have a pool so I'm used to training in the ocean or in rivers.
"The last time I competed (in Beijing in 2008) it was an amazing experience, we were treated like stars and I loved it. This time, I want to make sure I beat my own personal best."
Helping her towards that goal have been University staff and student volunteers, and according to Dr Tony Charlton, the University's Associate Head of Sports Development and Sports Studies, both parties will benefit from the training camp.
"We have a number of student volunteers who are working to support the athletes during their stay, introducing them to the culture and social scene in the north west," he explains.
"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.
"My ultimate aim is to ensure that the training camp 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."
The Micronesian athletes - including sprinters John Howard and Mihter Wendolin - have been on campus since the middle of June, and have since been joined by teams from the Marshall Islands and American Samoan wrestlers.
The University, along with Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Central Lancashire were confirmed as pre Games training camp venues for athletes from 15 Pacific countries in December 2011.
Back in May, Edge Hill was awarded a Podium bronze award to recognise its collaboration with the Pacific Island teams. The University is hoping that the training camp will lead to future projects which will strengthen these links.
By Carly Baldwin
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