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The athletes crouch down. The signal is given and, muscles straining, they cover the run in a few seconds. There are 100 of them, aged 10-12. All around, teachers and students roar their support.

Welcome to the “EkoNad” school, on the Left Bank of the Dnepr river in Kyiv, for a dramatic celebration marking “100 Days To Go” to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. It’s terrific to see so much enthusiasm crammed into a school sports ground.

In Kyiv, preparations for London 2012 are running at top speed. At the Olympic and Paralympics training camps, Ukrainian athletes are preparing for potential sporting glory. In the embassy’s visa section, we are working closely with the Ukrainian authorities to issue visas and take biometrics from those athletes and accompanying officials travelling to London for the games (known as “Olympic family members”). So far we have issued 187 visas to Olympic and Paralympics family members, and have taken 743 sets of biometric data, including 115 from the Ukrainian National Paralympics Team. That’s out of a total of around 750-900 people. To help make this possible, members of the visa section have travelled to the headquarters of the Ukrainian National Olympics Committee and National Paralympics Committee, and have travelled to an NPC training camp in the south of Ukraine.

Back at the EkoNad school, I meet the young athletes and hand out prizes, accompanied by top Ukrainian Olympic medallists in areas as diverse as sailing and handball. How exciting will the London Olympics be? Judging from the young sportspeople here in Kyiv, very exciting indeed.

Tags: 100 days, kyiv, London 2012, olympics, sport

Leigh Turner


Ukrayinska Dumka


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