Bury St Edmunds: Fond farewell for Rwandan Olympic team

BURY St Edmunds has said farewell to the Rwandan Olympic team which was due to leave the town today for London.

Yesterday a tea party was hosted by the Theatre Royal for the athletes, who arrived on July 6 and have been using the town as their training base ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Along with their Chef de Mission Serge Mwambali, Olympic athletes Alphonsine Agahozo (50m freestyle swimming), Jean Pierre Mvuyekure (marathon), Yannick Fred Sekamana (judo), Robert Kajuga (10,000m) and Claudette Mukasakindi (marathon), have also attended many community events in between their training.

They have been joined at these events by coaches Justin Guillemin (judo), Nicholas Dusine (swimming) and Innocent Rwabuhihi (athletics).

At the tea party a birthday cake and presents were given to Ms Agahozo, who celebrates her 16th birthday today.

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Using a translator, Mr Dusine said that although there are only a few of them, they are representing all of their country and on behalf of all Rwandans, “they would like to thank you from the bottom of their heart”.

“So the welcome they have received here has been really warm, more than they could have ever expected from people they hadn’t known before.”

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The translator added: “Thank you very much and when they get home they will tell everyone how welcome they are here in Bury St Edmunds.”

During their time in Bury the athletes and coaches have witnessed the Olympic torch being carried into Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, watched The Amazing Spider-man in 3D, courtesy of Cineworld, and enjoyed the Churchgate Showcase’s Big Street Dance event, amongst other things.

Warren Smyth, CEO of Abbeycroft Leisure, which runs Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, said: “We have really enjoyed having the Rwandan Olympic team train at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre.

“Both the staff and members have loved seeing them every day working out alongside them and it has been a fantastic experience for us and the whole town.”

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