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15 March 2010 | PR 10/48

Japanese Olympic hopefuls add to the magic of Musubi

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Loughborough University gave a group of Derbyshire school children the chance to meet some potential stars of the 2012 Olympics when they took part in the second 'Musubi' day held on campus.

The day took place on March 10, giving school pupils from the region the chance to sample an array of Japanese culture. The project was once again led by South Wolds Community School students and aims to contribute to the London 2012 legacy, as well as the region's growing relationship with Japan.

Students from Aldercar Community Language College from Langley Mill in Derbyshire took part in language, music and sporting workshops as part of the programme designed to strengthen the ties between the University, the region and Japan.

Activities involved included Taiko drumming workshops, judo sessions, language sessions and a sushi workshop at lunchtime run by Yo! Sushi’s Nottingham branch.

The day ended with a question and answer session between four Japanese 400m hurdlers, Yoshida Kazuaki, Yoshikata Masahira, Imazeki Yuta, Kawakita Naohiro, and the Aldercar children, with translation help provided by the South Wolds students. One lucky pupil was even treated to a short race with one of the athletes after challenging him in his best Japanese!

Gaynor Nash, regional coordinator for 2012 legacy for children and young people said: "The day was an exciting little package and very different from the day to day for the kids and quite different for the University to host as well.”

"The added ingredient this time was having the Japanese athletes on site and it was a great
opportunity for the students to interview them in Japanese.”

In June 2009, 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.

"The overall aim of the Olympic legacy is for 2012 to have meaning in the lives of young people across the East Midlands, but not to wait for 2012 for that to happen,” said Gaynor.

“Through things like the pre-games training camp the Japanese are holding at Loughborough, we've got the scope for that to happen. The young people can be involved in that as of now and some of the Olympic magic can begin to take its effect some two and a half years before the games themselves."

Gaynor added: "The kids at South Wolds are gaining from it as well. Since they did the first Musubi day at Loughborough they have achieved Get Set Network status, which means they are part of a growing but small family of schools that have said they are going to make 2012 quite integral to their work, and they have achieved that largely on the back of the work they are doing with Musubi. They've almost got celebrity status now around the region and they're quite excited about that!”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Danny  Coyle
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: D.Coyle@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 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five 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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