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Africa’s 2012 nations set for York


SEVEN AFRICAN nations are likely to have their pre London 2012 camps in the city of York.

Gambia, Senegal, Burkino Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea and Niger will prepare for the greatest show on earth in the north of England.

The University of York will be among a number of venues in the city chosen to host the Gambian Olympic and Paralympic squads before the 2012 London games.

Lord Sebastian Coe, LOCOG chair, told York’s The Press: “This is great news for York. The excellent sporting facilities in York will help the Gambian team train and prepare well for the London Games.

“It will also lead to a strong relationship between Yorkshire and The Gambia, and the development of sporting and cultural ties.”

Lawrence Bruce, executive director of the Gambian National Olympic Committee, has toured on-campus facilities during a visit to the city, which culminated with him signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Councillor Nigel Ayre, confirming Gambia’s intention to come to use York as a training camp before the games.

Bruce also visited York College, Huntington Stadium – home to the York City Knights rugby league side – and York St. John University.

“I have been greatly impressed with what I have seen around York,” Bruce added. “I have really enjoyed myself looking at these great facilities, which are compared to none I have seen so far,” he told The Press.

“We can make good use of them in 2012. We are feeling great and we can’t wait to come to York.”

The agreement with Gambia is the first positive step in securing a deal with the other members of the Zonal Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ZANOCA) Zone II to use facilities in York before the
2012 games.

Senegal’s track and field history has Amy Mbacke Thiam at the centre. The 400m runner won medals in two World Championships.

The one-lap exponent is best known for securing a gold medal at the World Championship held in Edmonton, Canada in 2001.

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