Olympian backs SnOasis project

One of Great Britain's most successful Winter Olympians has thrown his support behind the SnOasis project.

SUFFOLK: One of Great Britain's most successful Winter Olympians has thrown his support behind the SnOasis project.

The plans for the Great Blakenham-based leisure site are currently moving slowly but Ipswich-born bobsledder Lenox “Lenny” Paul has said that it would be a fantastic addition to the area.

Mr Paul competed at four Winter Olympic Games between 1988 and 1998 and won over 120 medals during his bobsleigh career, which he started while serving in the army.

Now working as a student support manager at Copleston High School, Mr Paul said the young people he worked with would benefit hugely from the range of facilities proposed for SnOasis.

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He said: “There's no two ways about it - it (SnOasis) could unlock talent.

“All our preparation had to be done abroad for ice training and we used to go to Thorpe Park, where they had a push track, as well as Bath university.

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“If we had somewhere like SnOasis, the opportunity for other talent to come through would be tremendous.

“I only had these experiences because I was in the Army and learned to ski. Affording people an opportunity is what I thought the future was all about.”

As well as hosting its famous ski slope, SnOasis would also be home to a state-of-the-art 100 metre push start bobsleigh, skeleton and luge run.

Only three places in the world have such facilities, including Italy, Germany and Vancouver, the setting for this year's Winter Olympic Games, which start next weekend.

Mr Paul, 51, said he remained a huge fan of the Winter Olympics and was in regular contact with the Great Britain bobsleigh team, having travelled out to St Moritz for the World Cup last year.

He added: “It would be great for the economy and make Ipswich and the whole of Suffolk a destination for people.

“For me, I'm a bobsleigh coach and I could use it. I'm a local boy and I would not be too far away.

“It'd be great, especially for the schools. We are talking about trying to get everybody involved in sport, so for schools in Suffolk it would be fantastic.”

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