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12 November 2009 | PR 09/159

South Wolds students help to spread the spirit of Japan

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Students from South Wolds Community School in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, will be helping other young people from the East Midlands learn more about Japan as part of an exciting new project being launched at Loughborough University this Friday (13 November).

Around fifty Year 8 and 9 students from Campion School in Northamptonshire will gather at the University to take part in the first Musubi day – an exciting new initiative, being led by South Wolds students, that aims to contribute to the London 2012 legacy, as well as the region’s growing relationship with Japan.

In June this year, Loughborough University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese Olympic Committee, that will see the two organisations working together up to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games. The partnership with Japan will bring wide-ranging benefits, not just to the University, but also to Loughborough and the whole East Midlands region.

“Musubi is the Japanese word for ‘a connection’. Through this initiative we want to build lasting connections between young people in the East Midlands and Loughborough University, Japan and, equally importantly, each other,” explains project leader Gaynor Nash, the regional coordinator for 2012 Legacy, East Midlands.

During the day the students will take part in modern sports such as sprinting and triple jump, as well as the more traditional karate. They will also be able to learn basic Japanese and experience the country’s culture.

The programme for the Musubi day has been designed by students from South Wolds Community School, who have just returned from Japan and will be on hand at each event to mentor the participants.

“It’s a really amazing opportunity for us at our age to be able to do what adults normally do for young people,” said Charlotte Smailes from the School. “The best part about going to Japan is being able to now share my experiences and knowledge with other young people.”

In addition to learning the Japanese language, the participants will be able to develop their leadership and volunteering skills. They will also learn about healthy living by taking part in sporting activities and, at lunchtime, sampling a selection of Japanese food, which is well-known for its nutritional value.

Chris Earle, Director of Sport at the University, says Loughborough is delighted to be hosting such an exciting and innovative event. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to share our outstanding sports facilities with young people from across the region and also to help reinforce the healthy lifestyle message.

“We really hope that some of the students will be inspired to continue developing the skills and abilities they learn during the Musubi day, and who knows – we may even uncover a sporting talent who could be taking part in the Olympics in years to come.”

From now until the London 2012 Olympic Games, a total of eight Musubi days will be held at the University. Each will involve a different specialist language college from local authorities in the East Midlands region. The programme will culminate in a special Musubi Day in the summer of 2012, when all the students who have participated in the initiative will gather to take part in a sports, language and cultural extravaganza.

The Musubi project has been recognised under London 2012’s Inspire programme, which aims to bring the benefits of the 2012 Games to every part of the UK.

Of this achievement, Gaynor Nash said: “I am delighted that the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has recognised the value of Musubi by awarding it this prestigious Inspire mark.”

The next Musubi days will be held in March and July 2010, with schools from Derbyshire and Lincolnshire taking part respectively.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. The first workshops will take place from 10:30 to 11:10. The students will split into four groups and take part in modern sport, traditional sport, culture or language workshops.

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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