Paralympians from the small African country of Burkina Faso are training for Olympic glory at Brentwood School.
Two athletes from the landlocked west African nation, are ‘burning rubber’ on the School’s world-class running track in readiness for the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The five-man Burkina Faso team is staying in Brentwood before moving to the Athletes Village in readiness for the opening of the Paralympics on 29th August.
The two athletes – who will be competing in cycling events – have become a regular sight racing around the School track. They are being supported by two training staff and a physiotherapist.
African champion Nikiema Kadidia will be competing in the women’s H4 Road Race over 48km and the H4 Time Trial over 16km. Her compatriot Gasbeogo Lassane has been churning out 160-lap circuits of the School’s 400m track as he trains for the men’s 64km H4 Road Race and the H4 Time Trial.
Cycling is now the third largest sport on the Paralympic programme and the cycling events will take place at Brands Hatch in Kent from 5th – 8th September. The venue has been designed to provide a challenging race circuit for each classified race category.
Those competitors in the H1–H4 category are athletes with an impairment that affects their legs and so compete using a hand cycle.
Trainer Ouedraogo Florentine said: “Brentwood is a beautiful town and the people are particularly kind and welcoming.”
She also praised Liam Conlon who had met the team in Africa and was instrumental in bringing them to Brentwood, and the Ursuline Sisters who had opened their doors to the team offering accommodation and support.
Headmaster Mr Ian Davies said he was delighted to welcome the Burkina Faso team to Brentwood School. “The School has a proud sporting tradition and the use of our facilities by such dedicated and inspiring athletes will provide encouragement to both our pupils and the whole community.”
In the run up to the Olympic Games - the running track upgraded using School funds - was used by modern pentathletes from across the world as they prepared to compete on the globe’s biggest stage.
The School was one of a handful of official training venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games providing training facilities for four of the five Modern Pentathlon sports: épée fencing, pistol shooting, 200m freestyle swimming and a 3km cross country run.
The School was given the honour because of the high international standard of sporting facilities already on site and its close proximity to the Olympic Village in Stratford.