Rwandan Olympians inspire town’s athletes

THE RWANDAN team has a packed schedule while in Bury St Edmunds – as well as training every day to ensure they are ready for London 2012 the athletes will be inspiring school children and attending local functions.

The team arrived on Friday evening in time to see the Olympic Torch arrive in the town on Saturday and said they were impressed by the relay which marked the beginning of their London 2012 experience.

Rwandan athletes training at the Bury Leisure Centre. Robert Kajuga, 10,000 metre runner.

Rwandan athletes training at the Bury Leisure Centre. Robert Kajuga, 10,000 metre runner.

On Sunday, the team attended a service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral where an address was given by the Bishop of Kigali. After the service, they attended a civic reception held at the Athenaeum ,where they were welcomed to the town by the Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Cllr Tim Marks, who told the team that the town would be watching and supporting its progress in the games.

Linda Kalimba, Deputy High Commissioner for Rwanda, said: “Us Rwandans feel very at home – we are having fun, we feel at home. You have beautiful souls you exude them and we feel that love.”

School children and local athletes have been inspired by the members of the team, who trained with St Edmund Pacers and West Suffolk Swimming Club on Monday evening, before giving school-children lessons in judo and racing them around the leisure centre’s athletics track on Tuesday.

Christine Anthony, PE coordinator at Risby Primary School, said: “The children were amazed – they loved it, being with Olympians was so special.

Civic reception for Rwandans at the The Athenaeum

Civic reception for Rwandans at the The Athenaeum

“They really look up to real athletes, especially those from different cultures.”

While in the town, the team will also attend Big Dance 2012, in aid of Sport for Rwanda, as well as the official unveiling of the Church Walks Charity’s Rwandan flower bed in the Abbey Gardens and a mural by King Edward VI Upper School.

They will also visit an exhibition at Moyse’s hall Museum entitled Suffolk’s Lap of Honour.

Local schools from around Suffolk get the chance to meet Rwandan athletes that will be competing at the 2012 games.''FL; Dave Oates British Judo instructor with Yannick Fred Sekamana from British Judo

Local schools from around Suffolk get the chance to meet Rwandan athletes that will be competing at the 2012 games.''FL; Dave Oates British Judo instructor with Yannick Fred Sekamana from British Judo