Japan Olympic Team arrive in Northampton

Three Olympic gymnasts have arrived in Northampton to start the final leg of their Olympic preparations before heading to the London 2012 Games next week.

It will be Japan’s fourth visit to NTGA the last 12 months, as they believe it provides the perfect place to prepare for the Games with world class facilities and accommodation on site at Kings Park Conference Centre.

2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Test Event bronze medallist Masaki Ito (24) will be leading Japan’s challenge to win their first Olympic medal, with China expecting to be the main contenders for gold and silver. Back-up to Japan’s current Number one comes in the form of experienced 28 year-old Yasuhiro Ueyama, from Osaka, who is a four-time World Championship medallist and represented Japan at the 2008 Beijing Games, finishing 10th. The sole female athlete from Japan is Ayano Kishi (20), from Ishikawa and club mate to Maski Ito, who will compete in her first Olympic Games after securing a spot at the Olympic Test Event in January this year, where she finished in 10th place.

(L-R) Yasuhiro Ueyama, Masaki Ito and Ayano Kishi

Science staff from the Japanese Institute of Sports Sciences will accompany the athletes to carry out tests, ensuring the gymnasts are fully recovered from jet lag and are in top condition before heading down to London on the 31st July, with the Men’s event taking place on Friday August 3rd, and Women’s on Saturday August 4th.

Director at the Northants Academy, Tracy Whittaker-Smith, who has been selected as Great Britain Olympic coach to support sole GBR representative Kat Driscoll, says: “We are very proud to host the Japan delegation for the fourth time and to help in their important preparation for the Olympic Games”.

“We have worked hard to build relationships with team Japan and it is a fantastic opportunity for club members & local people to come along and meet the Olympians”.

Japan follow in the footsteps of Blake Gaudry, from Australia, and GBR athlete Kat Driscoll, who have both trained at the Academy in recent weeks as part of their Olympic preparations.

Click here for full story in Northampton Chronicle & Echo.

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