US Paralympic team trains at RAF Lakenheath

More than 50 US Paralympians and hopefuls have been honing their skills in Suffolk in final preparation for competition in London next week.

RAF Lakenheath has provided the athletes with training facilities, lodging and meals as well as an opportunity to engage one-on-one with military families through a sponsor programme

The aim is to help the team overcome any jet-lag, adjust to the time difference and begin training at the same time of day as the competition.

US Paralympics track and field team high-performance director, Cathy Sellers, said: 'The support has been phenomenal. We can't ask for anything better - any time we need anything we just a say one word.

'The nice thing about Lakenheath is it is very intimate. We don't have to get on a bus to come down to the track. We don't have to get a bus to go to eat. We can just come from the TLFs [temporary living facilities] right to the dining hall and right to the track.'

Between 10 to 15 volunteers attend morning and afternoon training sessions to provide water, sports drinks and fruit as well as prepare ice packs and anything else the team needs.

In addition, each athlete is sponsored by a military family which shows them around base, the local community and helps to make them feel at home.

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RAF Lakenheath fitness and sports manager, John Enterman, said: 'Anything we can do to help them achieve their personal best is what we are here for.

'We repaired and cleaned the track for them, ensured the long jump and triple jump runways were good to go and put up netting for the discus and shot put.'

Ms Sellers added: 'Our team goal is 30 medals and one sweep. They [the team] are going 'only 30?'

'I keep telling them I like to under-promise and over-deliver. I will take the 30 first - we will get greedy later.'

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