Kawasaki is a host city for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and will be home to a Team GB 2020 pre-Games training camp.
A delegation from The Olympic and Paralympic Games Promotion Office in Kawasaki City, including Mr Takeshi Yamamoto and Ms Sonoko Sato, toured the Olympic Legacy Park facilities (OLP).
They visited the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EIS Sheffield) – one of a number of world-class venues which make up the OLP – to learn about the role the city played in the lead up to London 2012 as a host city for national training camps.
Mr Yamamoto and Ms Sato explored the GB Boxing squad’s state-of-the-art gym and the British Paralympic table tennis headquarters at EIS Sheffield and heard from David Hobson, project director for the OLP on how Sheffield has capitalised on the Olympic legacy to drive continued growth.
The unique Olympic Legacy Park brings together elite, professional and community sport, health and wellbeing research and innovation and academia.
The 35-acre London 2012 legacy project is made up of nine world-class sports, education, health and leisure facilities including the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park campus, Oasis Academy Don Valley, Park Community Arena, a community sports pitch, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, iceSheffield, Altitude, Don Valley Bowl and public running and cycling paths and green open spaces.
David Hobson, project director for the Olympic Legacy Park, said: “It was an honour to welcome the delegation from Kawasaki to Sheffield. As an official 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games host town, Kawasaki is aiming to create a sporting, health research, education and cultural legacy from the Games and we were extremely proud to have the opportunity to showcase the Olympic Legacy Park as an example of best practice.
“As the biggest project of its kind developed outside London following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, countries across the world are turning to the OLP as an exemplar of legacy to learn from our experience and replicate the innovative model we are creating in Sheffield.”
The visit started with a presentation on ‘Sheffield’s Lighting the Flame’ strategy followed by a tour of Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, which played host to the USA Diving Team and the Canadian Boccia Team in the run up to the London 2012 Games.
Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for SIV, which operates facilities including Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, said: “We were extremely proud to welcome the delegation from Kawasaki to tour some of our world-class facilities and demonstrate how continued investment in sport and leisure venues can support the development of a city.
“In preparation for hosting a Team GB training camp ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games, this visit was an opportunity for Kawasaki officials to find out more about SIV’s best practice and learn how we successfully balance participation at grassroots level with providing state-of-the-art sporting environments for elite squads such as GB Boxing and British Table Tennis.”
The visit also took in a trip to the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Research Centre and the new National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) at Graves Health and Sports Centre, which brings together clinical services, sport and exercise specialists and health professionals to make it easier for physical activity to become part of the treatment for a range of health conditions.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “We are seeing our Olympic Legacy vision become a reality here with world class facilities for sport, health, education, research and engineering being developed across the city and we are more than happy to support Kawasaki with their own Olympic vision. It’s clear evidence that what’s happening in Sheffield is catching the eye of major international cities as they look to Sheffield as an example of best practice. This close relationship is also an opportunity to learn from each other and I look forward seeing their Olympic plans develop as well as our friendship with the city.”