The Japanese Olympic swimming team will be using the Basildon Sporting Village for their pre Games training in preparation for London 2012 after they hailed the ‘fantastic facilities’ on offer.
This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Japanese swimming federation, Basildon Borough Council, and SLM Ltd, who will be operating the Sporting Village.
The agreement will see the Japanese swimming team using the international sized swimming pool during certain periods between the 20th and 31st July 2012 to train in preparation for their competitions. Discussions will take place as to any other areas that the swimming team may use during this period, such as the gym and fitness suite and studios.
The London Olympics start on 27th July and finish on 12th August. The swimming heats begin on 28th July with the 100 metre breaststroke, and finish on 4th August with the 4 by 100 metre relays.
In Beijing 2008, the Japanese team came fourth in the swimming medal tables, just one place below Team GB, after winning two gold medals in the mens 100m and 200m breaststroke and three bronze medals in the mens 200m, the mens butterfly and the women’s 200m backstroke.
Cllr Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts, says: “This is wonderful news, and I am delighted that we will be welcoming the Japanese swimming team to the Sporting Village prior to the London 2012 Games. Discussions are also taking place with their gymnastics team about what else we can offer.
“We have also agreed to work with them to explore a range of sporting, cultural, educational and trade exchanges in the spirit of friendship and international understanding that is such a key ethos of the Olympics.”
Cllr Tony Ball, Leader of the Council said it was a wonderful opportunity for local people to see elite athletes in action: “It will be excellent to be able to watch these Olympic athletes train, and then use the same facilities yourself. I hope that it will inspire the next generation of Basildon swimmers.
“This is a real vote of confidence on what will be a first class facility that all members of the community can use.”
Koji Ueno, Head of the Japense swimming team, said: “
“We are very pleased to have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Basildon Sporting Village and this is a great start for our preparation for the 2012 London Games. We are grateful for the Council and SLM’s support throughout this process and hopefully we can achieve some good results at the Games by using the fantastic facilities at Basildon for the final conditioning training."