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September 27 2010 | PR 10/145

‘Musubi’ project welcomes Japanese footballer to Loughborough University

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Leicester City and Japan footballer Yuki Abe sampled a taste of home, when he visited the award winning ‘Musubi’ project at Loughborough University.

Yuki, who joined Leicester City in August, and played for Japan in the World Cup, participated in a penalty shoot out with pupils from Brookvale High School in Groby.

He also took part in a question and answer session in Japanese, to help the pupils practice their language skills.

During the Musubi day the pupils took part in a range of Japanese themed activities including Taiko drumming workshops and sumo wrestling. They also had the opportunity to learn more about Japanese language and culture.

The event was the third Musubi day held at Loughborough University. Musubi is Japanese for a ‘connection’ and was influenced by the University’s agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee. The agreement will see the two organisations working together up to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Chris Earle, Director of Sport at Loughborough University, said:

“The Musubi days held at Loughborough are a tremendous addition to the work we are already doing with schools and young people. Musubi also illustrates how our agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee is bringing real tangible benefits to local communities.

“I hope the students attending the Musubi day will continue to develop the skills that they will learn. I also hope they are inspired by our facilities and by meeting World Cup footballer Yuki Abe.”

Gaynor Nash, the regional 2012 children and young people's coordinator, who created the Musubi project said:

“I am delighted that Yuki Abe was so keen to find out about Musubi and to be part of one of our days. Japanese athletes will be regular visitors to Loughborough and Yuki will be welcome here to say ‘konnichi wa’ to his countrymen and women or to language students from around the region.”

Leicester City Commercial Director, Paul Hunt, added:

"The Club is always keen to develop new initiatives with organisations, engage with the local community and to assist with the development of its players. The link to the Musubi events with Yuki delivers the perfect opportunity to do all three. We look forward to developing this further over the coming months."

The Musubi project is a collaboration between Japanese language students from South Wolds School in Nottinghamshire, Loughborough University, and East Midlands Development Agency.

The project has received the London 2012 Inspire mark and a prestigious European Award for Languages 2010. The awards demonstrate the impact of Musubi in contributing to the growing relationship between Japan and the University, Loughborough and the wider East Midlands region.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Rob Knott
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: R.A.Knott@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

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 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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