Suffolk swim star Chris Walker-Hebborn will not attend London Olympics opening ceremony

THERE will be no British swimmers at Friday’s opening ceremony at the Olympics with the pool programme set to start the next morning, it was announced today.

Although the competition runs from Saturday to Saturday it was a decision taken as a team – including Bury St Edmunds swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn – that they would not attend the ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

Neither will Keri-anne Payne attend despite the world 10 kilometre open water champion not competing until August 9.

James Goddard, who will compete against Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the 200 metres individual medley, was one of three GB swimmers, along with Payne and Robbie Renwick, who spoke to reporters at the final team press conference.

He said: “One of the things about this team is the swimmers get a lot of input into our preparation into the Olympic Games.

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“And as a group of swimmers with (national performance director) Michael Scott and a couple of the other staff we sat down and as a team we decided not to go to the opening ceremony because performance comes first.

“Athletes have got to make many sacrifices in their lives.

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“Ideally we’d all like to go but performance comes first and we all respect that decision.

“It’s a long day, there’s a lot of walking involved, a party atmosphere I suppose, especially with it being the next day we need to stay relaxed and focused on our race.”

Walker-Hebborn is first in action on Sunday morning in the 100m backstroke heats before turning his attention to the 200m later next week.

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