Warm welcome for Kenyan Olympic athletes to Bristol

Issue date: 03 July 2012

Kenyan Olympic Team arrive at UWE

Bristol is planning a warm welcome for the Team Kenya athletes who arrive on 4 July ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The team of around 40 athletes and officials will stay in UWE Bristol's student village.

The Kenyan Olympic squad will be based at UWE Bristol's Frenchay Campus during their time at the Bristol training camp in the run up to London 2012. They will train at the Olympic standard athletics track at WISE SGS College.

The visit has been arranged by the Bristol Kenya Partnership (BKP) with support from UWE Bristol, University of Bristol, WISE SGS, Bristol City Council and others.

There will be approximately 40 athletes, consisting of all the runners up to and including the 3,000 metres steeplechase. The team staying in Bristol includes two swimmers and a female weighlifter. David Rudisha world record holder and reigning world champion for 800m will arrive at Bristol next week after running in Paris at the weekend. Pamela Jelimo, the reigning 800m Olympic Champion, is another of the stars who will be using the Kip Keino stadium at SGS College as their training base. The long distance runners will be staying at altitude in Kenya.

The Kip Keino Stadium is one of only six venues in the Southwest that has UK Athletics class 'A' certification for its athletics facilities. A £1.3 million investment turned a former training track into a competition-standard athletics ground. Bristol City Council put £450,000 towards the development.

Floodlights have been installed so it can be used at night, and £70,000 of new equipment, including pole vaults, hurdles and high jumps has been added.

Twice Olympic gold-medal winner Kip Keino, Chairman of Kenya's National Olympics Committee, will be one of the officials accompanying the squad.

“It is a huge honour to host the Kenyan team,” said UWE Bristol Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rushforth. “We are delighted that they have chosen to base themselves in Bristol and that we have a chance to build on our various connections with Kenya. We hope their stay at UWE Bristol will be a great start to their Olympic ambitions and we will do all we can to make it a success.”

Bob Reeves, of the University of Bristol, and Chairman of BKP, says, “We are really excited to have the Kenyan team in Bristol. It is our way of engaging in the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom. Bristol's athletics facilities have greatly improved in recent years and this has in part been motivated by the agreement reached with the Kenyans, with the support of Bristol City Council. This will provide a long term legacy, as will the partnership arrangements now in place between 21 Bristol schools and Kenyan counterparts. Already, ten schools have been involved in student and/or staff exchanges. In addition there have been sports development programmes in Kenya engaged in by students from UWE Bristol, Filton College and the University of Bristol, and a number of other sport-related activities.”

“The Kenyan Association in Bristol is also closely involved with the visit, and members have visited a number of Bristol schools to explain about Kenyan culture, as well as to teach some swahili!”

An evening reception for the athletes on 4 July will be jointly hosted by UWE Bristol and the Kenyan High Commissioner, Ephraim Ngare, who will be attending.

On 5 July Kip Keino, Chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee, and one of the greatest runners in history, will receive the Freedom of the City of Bristol at a special ceremony at 18:00 in the Council House. This will be followed by a reception hosted by Osborne Clarke Ltd and Smith and Williamson Ltd.

The Kenyan Paralympic squad will also stay in UWE Bristol's student village and will arrive during August prior to the start of the Paralympics in London on 29 August.

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