Rubbing shoulders with AJ in world-class facilities - Town's training camp
- Credit: ITFC
Ipswich Town head to world-renowned Loughborough University for a training camp this week as part of their pre-season preparations. Mark Heath takes a look a what they can expect...
When and where
Town players and staff will spend a week at the university, which is based in Leicestershire.
It's home to around 20,000 students and 1,500 academic staff. Boss Kieran McKenna is a former student, while ex-Town star Jamie Clapham is the university's head football coach.
When he was appointed last year, he said: “Loughborough is a university that is steeped in tradition of elite sport performance and that was a huge draw when it came to applying for the role.
“Throughout my career, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of football which will hopefully allow me to see things from a different viewpoint. I see myself as a developer of people, a huge advocate of core values, and I already know there is a lot of talent in this group.
“I’m excited to build upon the fantastic foundations already in place here and take the football offer to the next level.”
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Loughborough is known as one of the best sporting universities in the world, with a host of legendary athletes having attended, including the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Lord Sebastian Coe.
McKenna himself is listed among notable former coaches and staff of the university's football team, Loughborough University FC.
It's home to a number of national sporting bodies, including British swimming, athletics and weight-lifting, plus England cricket and netball.
The British Olympic Association chose it as their training base for the 2012 London Games, with past and present students claiming ten medals that summer.
It boasts five performance grass football pitches, plus another five artificial pitches, an athletics stadium - named after Radcliffe - 50m swimming pool, cricket centre, elite athlete centre and hotel, plus a 3,600-capacity football stadium.
There are also two world-class gyms on campus, including Powerbase - one of the country's largest strength and conditioning facilities.
The ex-champ is here
The Blues will be joined at Loughborough by a rather more high profile current resident.
Anthony Joshua, former two-time heavyweight champion of the world, is using the university as the base for preparations for his rematch with Oleksander Usyk in Saudi Arabia on August 20.
Joshua was outclassed by the Ukrainian master boxer in their first fight at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, losing on points.
And he's made headlines of a different kind while based at Loughborough, after having a run-in with some students who lobbed abuse at him from the window of their halls.
Joshua told the Daily Telegraph: "One night I couldn’t sleep at 3am so I went for a walk. And the reason I had to address them is that their block and my block are next to each other and they cannot get comfortable calling me names from a window.
"I told them ‘I am here to work, I am not playing games with anyone and they were crossing the wrong person’. There were four or five of them and that’s the only reason I dealt with them in that fashion.
"I told them that, if they see me on my own again and they want to shout that s--- at me, ‘I will break your jaw’. We left it at that and I spoke to them afterwards and we shook hands."