Grenadan Olympic team settle into Sunderland before London 2012
Released: Tuesday 3rd July 2012 at 14:24
ATHLETES from the Grenadan Olympic team have arrived in Sunderland for their final training preparations before competing in London 2012.
The University of Sunderland was selected as the training base of choice for the team, after a delegation from the Grenadian National Olympics Committee (GNOC) spent time touring the campus and other sporting venues across the city and region earlier this year.
Now, three of the country’s track and field athletes, alongside their team manager and two coaches, have finally arrived in the city and will spend the next nine days living, eating, socialising, receiving treatment and holding team briefings at the university, as well as utilising whatever sporting facilities they require.
The team who have made the trip to the region are Joel Redhead (400m), Kurt Felix (Decathlon) and Neisha Bernard-Thomas (800m).
Ivan Whitfield, Director of Sport at the University, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Grenadian Olympic athletes on campus; it’s a great honour and privilege for all our staff and students. We’ll be supporting all their training needs throughout their stay and preparing them ahead of the Olympic Games.
“There has been a tremendous partnership effort between the University, Sunderland City Council and SAFC to make this happen, supported by One NorthEast and other sporting facilities in the region.
“We demonstrated that our joined up offer is second to none in a city environment, it's the whole package for the GNOC. Their decision links in to what our university can provide in terms of sports science, sport medicine, injury prevention and treatment, which our on-site service undoubtedly appealed to the committee."
GNOC Chef de Mission Conrad Francis, who is managing the team while in Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to be here in Sunderland, it was a popular choice with the GNOC to come here. Of course we came prepared for the weather and are adapting very well. The facilities are fantastic at the university and across the region, that’s why we chose the location. Everyone is being really supportive.”
Neisha Bernard-Thomas added: “I have been to the North East before, so it’s really good to be back as I am familiar with the area.
“I still have a little work to do before the Olympics, I am trying to get a couple of races in just to improve my time while I’m here.”
The team will stay in the region until July 11th, they will then fly south to a holding camp before the official opening ceremony on July 27, of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Leader of Sunderland City Council Paul Watson said: “We think it’s fantastic that the Grenadan Olympic Team has chosen to stay and train in Sunderland.
“There is a great anticipation of the upcoming London Olympic Games from the people ofSunderland, as demonstrated by the huge support for the Olympic Torch Relay visiting the city recently.
“The athletes will have access to top-class facilities across the city as well as the superb support of experts at the University. We wish them all the very best for their stay in the city, and their participation in the Games.”
Sunderland AFC chief executive Margaret Byrne added: “It is wonderful to see Sunderland playing its part in what is going to be a historic and memorable event for the country as a whole.
“I’m sure the people of Sunderland will extend a warm welcome to the Grenadan athletes and we hope that their time in our city will serve as the perfect preparation for their Olympic endeavors.”
While they’re staying on campus, the team is being supported university staff, as well as Grenadan student Fayola Moore, who recently completed a modern languages degree at Sunderland, and is welcoming her nation’s top athletes on campus.
Fayola, 29, has been given the special honour of supporting the athletes when they arrive, acting as a liaison officer. She will help the team familiarise themselves with the city and university, answer any questions they have and accompany them on any planned visits in the region.