Lowestoft hosts world class Japanese athletes
Hopes are high that world class gymnasts will return to train in Lowestoft in forthcoming months ahead of next year's London Olympics.
Waveney Gymnastics Club has been hosting a delegation of 11 members from the Japanese Federation since last Wednesday, with three of the trampolining team - Masaki Ito, Yasuhiro Ueyama and Tetusuya Sotomura - training at the facility ahead of the World Championships in Birmingham in October as they compete for two spots at next year's Olympics.
Yesterday the three top athletes showcased their high-flying skills during a special open training session, which saw more than 75 spectators - including VIPs, Waveney MP Peter Aldous, families and aspiring youngsters from the club - all marvel at the aerial acrobatics.
With the facility in Southwell Road a recognised London 2012 Pre-Games training camp, club officials are now hopeful that the latest visit from the Japanese squad will bolster an impressive line-up that has already seen the Australian and Canadian men's gymnastics teams confirming their intention to use the centre ahead of London 2012.
'We are very, very pleased with how its gone,' centre manager Chloe McMorran said. 'They seem very pleased with the facilities and have been very impressed with what we have offered and the area itself.
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'As a club we are absolutely honoured to have had the Japanese squad here, and now they will have six days training in Northampton to gauge the suitability of the venues.'
She added that the club will hear 'very soon' from the Japanese Federation, with the delegation due to confirm whether they will return to Lowestoft or not.
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Norifumi Yamamoto national coach and project manager from the Japanese Federation said the week-long training sessions at the Lowestoft club had been a success.
'It has been an excellent week,' Mr Yamamoto said. 'The club have been very good catering for the trampoline squad and coaches in a quiet, relaxed environment,'
He added that with the final Olympic selection still up-for-grabs, Sotomura - who finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics - had 'a 70pc chance' of securing a medal at next year's Games.