9 August 2012
Japanese and British young people joined forces at Imperial yesterday to sample sports from their respective countries. Young athletes from the Tokyo Sports Association spent the day on Imperial’s South Kensington Campus, together with teenagers from Westminster Council’s summer activities programme, Edutain.
Both groups mixed, with the help of an interpreter, and tried their hand at cricket and judo. Maha, aged 11, from Westminster and Hatsune, aged 15, from Tokyo were agreed on their preferred sport – it was cricket every time.
Maha said “I’ve had a great morning, and tried out judo and cricket but I definitely prefer the cricket – it’s much less scary!”
That Olympic appetite was whetted by a meeting between the young visitors and Richard Weinberger, the Canadian Open Water swimmer who has been using Imperial facilities to prepare for his London 2012 event in Hyde Park event on Friday. Richard posed for photos and took questions from the group.
The visit was organised by Sport Imperial, who are providing facilities for Japanese athletes and members of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC). With 26 young students from Tokyo visiting London for the Games, having been specially selected on athletic ability, the JOC wanted to provide an opportunity for them to meet young people from London.
The morning of activities ended in a lunch, with the English students sharing English food with the Japanese guests, who reciprocated with some impromptu Japanese language lessons.
Samantha Bell from Sport Imperial said, “This is what the Olympics is all about. It’s not just about watching the elite athletes compete but also inspiring a young generation, creating the opportunities for them to participate in any form of physical activity or sport and educating the young people culturally. It was a great experience for all the young people involved.”
Earlier this year Commercial Services and Sport Imperial hosted three ‘Sanka Days’, Sanka being the Japanese word for participation, which saw London schoolchildren visit Imperial to learn more about Japanese culture, in celebration of Imperial hosting Japanese athletes during the Games.
— John-Paul Jones, Communications and Development