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Delegates from Kawasaki City visit Sheffield
Delegates from Kawasaki City visit Sheffield

Kawasaki look to Sheffield for Tokyo 2020 Games Legacy

18 October 2016

Delegates from Kawasaki City with a vision to create lasting Olympic Legacy visited Sheffield today (Monday 17 October) as part of a UK trip to learn from our successes from the London 2012 Games.

Kawasaki is a host city for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and will be home to Team GB’s 2020 pre-Games training camp. They are now looking to learn from Sheffield because of the vital role the city played in the lead up to the 2012 London Games as a host city for multiple nations’ training camps, as well as how the city has capitalised on the Olympic legacy to drive continued growth.

Mr Takeshi Yamamoto and Ms Sonoko Sato from The Olympic and Paralympic Games Promotion Office in Kawasaki City came to Sheffield to meet with staff involved in the city’s successful ‘Lighting the Flame for Sport’ strategy, visiting the Olympic Legacy Park and top-class sport, health and education sites across the city.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome visitors to Sheffield and we were delighted to host guests from our friendship city Kawasaki and proudly share our knowledge, experience and successes following the 2012 London Games.

“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.”

The visit on Monday 17 October started with a presentation on ‘Sheffield’s Lighting the Flame’ strategy followed by a tour of venues across the city.

First stop was 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, it has an Olympic-sized 50m competition pool and a 25m diving pool, which is the deepest in the UK. The venue attracts around one million visitors a year. Next was the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EIS Sheffield), the training home of the GB Olympic Boxing squad and Paralympic Table Tennis Gold Medallist Will Bayley.

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.”

After visiting these two world-class sporting venues, The Olympic Legacy Park was next on the agenda. This unique London 2012 legacy project brings together elite, professional and community sport, health and wellbeing research and innovation and academia.

The 35-acre Legacy Park 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 (OLP), 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 then took delegates to the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Research Centre, which is plays a key role in Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy and contribution to sport with pioneering research and engineering to develop innovations in sports technology.

The day finished with welcoming the delegates back to the Sheffield Town Hall for a drinks reception in the Lord Mayors Parlour and provide an opportunity to take in some of Sheffield’s history.

With so much happening across the city the visit couldn’t be wrapped up in one day and the following morning a final stop was made at The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) at Graves Health and Sports Centre, where community healthcare sits alongside community leisure and sport. NCSEM 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.

In addition to being the year in which Kawasaki host Team GB’s training camp, 2020 will also mark the 30 year anniversary of friendship city relations between Sheffield and Kawasaki. The trip to Sheffield this week also gave the two cities the chance to explore further opportunities to work together in the future.

This is not the first time Sheffield has attracted attention from high profile international delegates. In March this year a delegation from Chengdu visited Sheffield, strengthening their relationship with China and leading to millions of pounds of in inward investment. In 2015 Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institute and former advisor to President Obama attended Sheffield’s International Economic Commission and US Ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun came to meet with members of the business community.