THE RWANDAN Olympic team has arrived in Bury St Edmunds, to acclimatise and finish their preparations for London 2012.
The four athletes and their coaches are completing their training at Bury Leisure Centre.
While training in the town, they will be taking part in several local community events.
There are five athletes in the 2012 Rwandan Olympic team, the most the country has ever sent to compete in an Olympic Games, and four of them are training in Bury.
The team said that Rwandans take a lot of interest in the Olympics and their progress would be closely followed –particularly by their friends and family.
Training in Bury are Alphonsine Agahozo, 15, who will compete in 50m freestyle swimming, marathon runner Jean Pierre Mvuyekure, 28, Yannick Fred Sekamana, 18, who will compete in judo and long distance runner Robert Kajuga, 24.
Speaking at a civic reception to welcome the team to the town, the Deputy High Commissioner of Rwanda, Linda Kalimba, said: “The team here from Rwanda has done us very proud if you see them a little bit quiet and not outgoing they have a heavy burden on them – all Rwandans are setting their eyes on them but I want to inform them they should not worry.”
Yannick Fred Sekamana said: “I’m nervous, like the deputy high commissioner said. Everybody in Rwanda is waiting for us to do something good.”
The athletes, who are all from Rwanda’s capital Kigali, are training between two and four hours a day and have high hopes for the games.
The athletes said they were enjoying their time in Bury and expected the Olympic Games to be very good.
Yannick said: “It’s very good we have all the facilities we need here and people are kind.
“We expected the welcome to be good, but we did not expect as much as this – we are sometimes recognised in Rwanda, but we sign more autographs in Bury St Edmunds.”
Yannick said his aim for London 2012 was ‘just to give a good image to judo’, Robert hopes to get a medal but is looking forward to the experience, Jean Pierre also has ambitions of a medal while Alphonsine hopes to beat her personal best time in the 50m freestyle swim.
The team will leave Bury and head for the Olympic Village in Stratford on July 18.