Ipswich: Samba! Brazil’s 2012 Olympic gymnasts WILL train in town

Brazil’s gymnastics team for the 2012 Olympics WILL train and live in Ipswich prior to and during the Games.

And although the male football squad won’t be using the town’s facilities, there is a possibility the female football team will.

Following an official visit from Gustavo Satio Harada - supervisor of Brazil’s Elite Sports Department of High Performance – it has been confirmed the gymnastics team will train at Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre.

Andy Woods, head coach for the Brazier’s Wood Road facility, said the development is “absolutely fantastic” for Ipswich.

“Mr Harada has agreed to sign on the dotted line,” he said. “He thought the centre was superb and he loved town.”

Brazil’s ambassador arrived in Ipswich on January 22 to review Pipers Vale, Gainsborough Sports Centre, Crown Pools, Northgate Sports Centre and Alton Water as potential training facilities for his Olympians.

Accompanied by Wood, he then made his way to Portman Road to watch the Super Blues play Doncaster, where the home team triumphed, 3 - 2.

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And although he enjoyed the game and the ground, Mr Harada said he has no jurisdiction over where Brazil’s male football team will train and stay prior to the Olympics.

Wood said: “It is a shame the male football team won’t be coming here but there is a possibility the female football team will and they have been tipped to win a medal.”

The gymnastics squad will arrive in January for initial qualifying heats and return in July for the Games proper. During both visits the team is tipped to stay in the Holiday Inn Orwell in The Havens.

Mr Wood said Mr Harada was impressed not just by Pipers Vale as a centre, but by the number of children involved in gymnastics in Ipswich and their passion for the sport.

And thanks to their performance during Mr Harada’s visit they are getting set to learn from some of the world’s best gymnasts in 2012.

“He said he wants the Brazilian team to do some work with the children at the centre,” said Wood. “So we’ll have Olympians working with our kids which is great. Especially since the 2016 games are in Rio.

“We are all very excited,” he added.