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Swaziland's Olympic team to train at Tavistock

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.WEST Devon has bagged an Olympic team to train in the area ahead of this summer's London Games.

The Swaziland team will arrive in Tavistock in July although organisers of a committee which attracted them to West Devon admit the southern African nation is not sending the biggest contingent to the Games in the world.

In fact, just two athletes both sprinters will touch down in Tavistock on July 8.

However, the committee of volunteers which persuaded Swaziland to train in West Devon are delighted with their success. The committee, the West Devon Pre-Games Training Camp Working Group, was certified by the London Games organisers for pre-Olympics training.

That left committee members with the task of finding a team which wanted to stay and train in West Devon. Committee vice-chairman Alan Roberton said: "We're very pleased even with two people from Swaziland, it's the fact that they're coming that is important."

The two athletes are big names in their own country. Sibusiso Matsenjwa, 24, is nick-named 'Swazibolt' after top sprinter Usain Bolt, his idol. Matsenjwa's record includes a win in the 200m in the African National Games and victories in the 100m and 200m in the National Championship.

Phumlile Ndzinisa, 19, is also regarded highly by Swaziland athletics bosses and is considered by some to be the country's top athlete. Her growing CV includes a third place in the 200m in the World Championships held in Daegu, Korea, last September.

Twelve days after winning the bronze medal, she finished fourth in the All-Africa Games in the 400m.

The National Olympic Committee for Swaziland, selected West Devon as the site for final training for the duo prior to the London Games, which take place between July 27 and August 12. The athletics track at Tavistock College was among a number of sites in the West Devon area certified by LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) for pre-Games training.

Fifteen months ago, a committee of volunteers led by Dr James Allenby formed the West Devon Pre-Games Training Camp Working Group and started work to attract an overseas country to come and train in the area.

It is hoped having an Olympics team in their midst will inspire West Devon residents to become involved in the London Games and physical exercise.

The two Swazis will be training at the recently-built athletics track at Tavistock College, while staying at the residential facilities at nearby Kelly College. Marjon have also offered the two sprinters the use of their advanced sports science facilities.

Roberton added: "This is another feather in West Devon's cap as the Olympic Torch passes through the area on June 20 to 22nd and Swaziland's visit will be a further opportunity for residents of the Borough to be involved in the preparations for the Games.

"Every effort will be made by the committee to provide young people of West Devon with the opportunity to meet the visiting team, without, of course, disrupting their final training schedule. "It is hoped that local schools will be among the organisations providing hospitality and support for the athletes during their stay."

Anybody who feels they can help should contact Roberton via alan.roberton.t21@btinternet. com

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