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Olympics in sight for Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 09:10 27 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:24 06 July 2010

LOWESTOFT and Waveney are ready to play a full part when the greatest show on earth is staged “right on the East of England's doorstep.”

That was the vow this week as campaigners turned up the heat in their bid to bring the Olympic torch to Suffolk ahead of the 2012 Games.

LOWESTOFT and Waveney are ready to play a full part when the greatest show on earth is staged “right on the East of England's doorstep.”

That was the vow this week as campaigners turned up the heat in their bid to bring the Olympic torch to Suffolk ahead of the 2012 Games.

On Tuesday this week Waveney Tourism Forum organised a special conference focussing on the 2012 Olympic Games.

Local businesses, sports clubs and leading officials all joined forces to discuss all the preparatory work going into Waveney's Olympic aim - and The Journal has today unveiled a list of sporting stars that are aiming to shine on the global stage.

With Waveney Gymnastics Centre being included in the London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide, they are likely to be hosting some of the world's top gymnasts in the lead up to the Olympics.

And there was further joy for the district this week as a meeting in Kuala Lumpur announced that athletes with a learning disability will be eligible to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Aiming high, six youngsters from the Ashley School in Lowestoft are now all under starters orders and preparing for the off as they eye up an Olympic shot.

For the ruling now means that athletics, swimming, rowing and table tennis will be included at the 2012 Paralympic Games - after athletes with a learning disability had been prevented from taking part in the past two games.

This is “great news” for teacher Jackie Milton and six of her athletes who are currently in the Mencap England Athletics Team - Kimberley Aspland, Lewis Pryke, Holly Durbidge, Chelsea Dixon, Declan Manning and Adam Szucs.

And they could well be joined by fellow England team mate Kieron Jessop, who attends the Warren School, and former Ashley pupil Stephanie Bird, who is one of the world's best swimmers.

18-year-old archer Tom Barber, from the Waveney Valley, has already been earmarked as a 2012 star to watch, while top national boxing champ Anthony Ogogo, talented teenage swimmer Ellis Jackson and sailing sensation Nic Asher all fervently harbour hopes of gracing the Olympics stage.

15-year-old Triple A boxing club female starlet Charley Davison has already tasted success overseas, and is likely to be in with a shot should women's boxing be included at the Olympics.

Delighted with the success of this week's conference, Waveney Tourism Forum chairman the Hon. Hugh Crossley said: “It all went very well and we had a very good turnout.

“The Olympics could make a real difference to us locally and with the shining example of the Waveney Gymnastics Club everyone found the event very inspiring.”

And given that an economic impact study, led by EEDA and partners, has shown that gross benefits to the region could exceed £600 million and to Suffolk over £66 million alone, this is of major interest to Waveney.

This week, Choose Suffolk and Suffolk County Council encouraged residents to call for the national torch relay to visit the county.

Supporters are being asked to leave comments and upload photos of their favoured destination on the campaign's dedicated website at www.visit-suffolk.org.uk/suffolk2012.cfm. These will then be used to lobby the torch relay organiser.

Alex Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk, the trading name of the Suffolk Development Agency, said: “This is a chance for Suffolk to show the world just what it has to offer.

Ashley School sports teacher Jackie Milton said there is a real chance that the local athletes could compete in London.

“They are all in the England squad already and some of them are likely to be competing in three big European events in the New Year.

“But now the Olympic dream is closer to becoming reality with this brilliant news, and this will act as a major motivator to the youngsters as the Olympics is the pinnacle.”


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