Olympic athlete arrives for stay in Aston

OLYMPIC athlete Eric Matthias is coming to Aston while he trains for the 2012 Games at Hertfordshire facilities.

THE first Olympic athlete from the British Virgin Islands will arrive for a six-week stay in Aston today (Tuesday), where the team will be hosted while training in the run up to the London 2012 Games.

Discus thrower Eric Matthias will raise his homeland flag above St Mary’s Church in the village at 7.45pm this evening to celebrate the occasion.

Athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be staying at residents’ homes in Aston while using facilities at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield and Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City to train.

The British Virgin Islands flag will fly from St Mary’s Church on Broadwater Lane whenever an athlete is in residence.

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Derrick Ashley, Hertfordshire County Council’s champion for the 2012 Games, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first of many British Virgin Islands athletes to Hertfordshire and thank the villagers of Aston for extending such a generous welcome.

“The county has so much to offer world-class athletes in the run up to 2012. Hertfordshire is an ideal place for athletes from around the world to train and is only a short distance from London and the Olympic Park. We hope other countries will also sign up to use our high-quality sports facilities.”

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The British Virgin Islands’ Olympic Committee announced last June that it would use Hertfordshire’s pre-Games training camps in the lead up to London 2012. The Secretary General of the committee, Dean Greenaway, said at the time: “I have felt so welcome here and seen such great facilities for my athletes to train which, together with the warm and friendly welcome from the Aston villagers, only confirms my decision that Hertfordshire is the place of choice. Where else could we possibly want to go?”

Last month, Secretary General Alfred Emmanuel, of the St Lucia Olympic Committee, visited the county’s pre-Games training camps.

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