World-class athletes were at Middlesex University giving students and locals a taste of what it is like to compete in the Olympic Games.
Long jumper Chris Tomlinson and triple jumper Larry Achike, alongside their coach Frank Attoh, talked about their experiences in past Games and their training regimes leading up to London 2012.
“The event was set up as part of the University’s community engagement activity linked to the Olympics. The plan was to give the opportunity for our students and staff, as well as the local community, to meet some sporting champions.” said Middlesex University’s head of sport and recreation Mel Parker.
Larry Achike said he was excited about potentially competing in London 2012 because it will be in front of a partisan crowd.
“I've been waiting all my life to be in an Olympic stadium at home and compete. The opportunity is here and I’ll do all I can to get there,” said the former Commonwealth gold medallist.
British long jump record holder Chris Tomlinson concurred but pointed out the hard work needed beforehand to qualify for the Olympics and then compete competitively.
"I'm excited - it goes without saying. But you have to take one day at a time. It's not about waking up on August 3rd and jumping 9 meters. For me its… making sure that as each day passes I get that little bit stronger, little bit faster, little bit technically better, and therefore better prepared to achieve my goal in the Olympic Games,” added the current European Championship silver medalist.
Achike, who is a regular at Middlesex, commended the University’s sports facilities. The two-time Olympic finalist regularly uses the gym at Middlesex to train.
“It's now a very modern gym with all the facilities an athlete needs to do their general conditioning,” said Achike. “It's really handy to come to a well-equipped gym and do my rehab. So I need to say thank you to Middlesex University for giving me the opportunity to use the facilities and help me back on track to perform at the highest level."
The event is one of many Olympic related events Middlesex is organising before the Games kick off in July. Middlesex student and staff have already signed up to the national sports volunteering campaign Sportsmakers, which was launched by five-time Olympian Sir Steven Redgrave launched at Middlesex last year. There are also other Olympic themed events and conferences earmarked in the coming months at the University.
Another “Meet the athletes” event will take place on Monday 12th March. Middlesex students and graduates that are hoping to compete in London 2012 will be taking the centre stage at that event.
“Some of the speakers will be graduates of the University so it also gives them an opportunity to come back and talk about their experiences of trying to juggle academic studies and training at a high level,” said Mel Parker.
Current athletes at Middlesex receive a range of support including free use of fitness facilities, support on strength & conditioning, rehabilitation and sports massage, free kit, mentoring support and academic timetable flexibility related to training and competition schedules.
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