Pre-games training camp
In the summer of 2012, Olympic and Paralympic athletes from Rwanda made Bury St Edmunds their second home, training at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre as their Pre-Games Training Camp to prepare for London 2012.
The people of St Edmundsbury witnessed world class athletes training for the Games on their doorstep and formed a lasting friendship..
“The Rwandan teams for both Games see this as a brilliant opportunity to create meaningful community driven programmes, long term educational links, and in turn hope the people of Bury St Edmunds and surrounding areas can adopt Rwanda as their second team.”
Berhao Ignace, President, Rwandan National Olympic Committee
Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre was one of just three official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camps in the county. It was chosen to host the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams as they prepared for London 2012.
Rwandan Paralympic Team
The Rwandan Paralympic team arrived in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday 12 August and trained in the town until Friday 24 August.
The Rwandan National Paralympic team consists of 14 athletes and six coaches and officials including the Rwanda Sitting Volleyball team (11 players).
They were joined by Hermas Muvunyi (400m and 800m); Theoneste Nsengimana (1500m); and powerlifter Theogene Hakizimana (82.50KG).
On their first day of training they played a friendly match with Team GB who travelled from Loughborough to meet the team. Members of the public were invited to watch.
To see official photographs from the Pre Games Training click here. Official photography by Warwick Lowe.
Rwandan Olympic Team
The Rwandan Olympic team arrived in Bury St Edmunds on Friday 6 July and trained in the town until Wednesday 18 July.
The Rwandan Olympic athletes included Alphonsine Agahozo who competed in the 50m freestyle swimming;marathon runner Jean Pierre Mvuyekure; Judo competitor Yannick Fred Sekamana; and long distance runner Robert Kajuga who competed alongside Mo Farah in the 10,000m. They were joined at the Camp by their Chef De Mission Serge Mwambali.
While the team trained in Bury St Edmunds they were welcomed by local people and attended many community events and activities.
The Rwanda National Olympic Committee chose Bury St Edmunds because they felt at home here, they wanted to be part of the community when they trained and were pleased that people would support Rwanda as their second team.
Bury St Edmunds was chosen because of its excellent facilities at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, run by Abbeycroft Leisure in partnership with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and because the country saw the pre-games training camp as a brilliant opportunity to create a legacy of meaningful community driven programmes and long term education links.
The people of Bury St Edmunds cheered on Rwanda alongside the UK athletes taking part and adopted the African nation as their second team.
Ahead of the training camp, President of the Rwanda Olympic Team, Dr Charles Rudakubana, said: “The Games Training Camp in Bury St Edmunds is vital for our athletes. It will allow our athletes to acclimatise to the British environment, by training in the climate in which they will be competing. The facilities in Bury St Edmunds are first class and our athletes will be able to train right up until they compete in London.”
During a visit to Bury St Edmunds in 2010, Rwandan High Commissioner Ernest Rwamucyo agreed that choosing the town to host his country's athletes was the right one.
He said: "We made a wonderful choice to come to Bury St Edmunds. We are very happy that the Rwandan athletes will be using these wonderful facilities."
For more information on the Rwanda-Bury St Edmunds Pre Games Training Camp click here.
Pin Badges To Go On Sale
Commemorative pins celebrating the Bury St Edmunds Pre-Games Training Camp and the Go Rwanda project will soon be on sale priced £5.
They will be available from Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, Bury St Edmunds Tourist Information Centre, Moyse’s Hall Museum, West Stow, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, Greene King Visitors’ Centre and St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
All proceeds will go to training equipment for the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic athletes.