Rwandan Commercial Attache Patrick Gihana- Mulenga believes Bury St Edmunds is the ideal environment for his athletes after the town was selected to host the Rwandan athletics team next year in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With the Games just under a year away, competeing nations will be converging on the United Kingdom to find suitable accomadation for athletes and, speaking at the Suffolk Youth Games, Gihana-Mulenga explained the reasons behind the decision of choosing Bury over a host of other towns.
He said: “We had someone who was appointed the task of finding a location that would give the athletes the same feeling as if they were at home as opposed to being in a strange country.
“They wanted to know about the atmosphere and the community feel of the places and we chose Bury St Edmunds because it has that same community togetherness and support from the community for the athletes which is very important.
“It is the area and the community spirit that made us choose here.
“There is a community here that is willing to accomadate the athletes and that is willing to train with the athletes.
“There are great facilities to train, a world class athletics track to use and a whole lot on offer, but overall the community has the feeling of falling in line with the Olympic spirit and what we want for the athletes.”
Although the athletes will not be arriving until the weeks building up to the Games next year, Gihana-Mulenga believes he has already experienced the excitement surrounding the world’s greatest sporting event, as he outlined the future legacy plans in place between Suffolk and Rwanda.
He added:“The excitement for the Games is unbelievable, I have never seen anything like it.
“Apart from the issue of getting tickets that everyone has experienced, the excitement is definitely there, whether people will be experiencing it first hand in one of the stadiums in London or on the television.
“The link between Rwanda and Suffolk is already there for the future.
“We are talking at the moment about economic ties and opportunities for athletes to come and visit us as well a lot of our athletes visitng here so we can continue our arrangement of building on the partnership.
“It has been very good for us.”