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Countdown to the London 2012 Olympics

PUBLISHED: 01:16 26 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:11 20 February 2013



Kent is playing host to more athletes competing in the 2012 Games than any other area in the UK, attracted by the county's superb training opportunities and facilities.

Countdown to the London 2012 Olympics

Kent is playing host to more athletes competing in the 2012 Games than any other area in the UK, attracted by the countys superb training opportunities and facilities

Over the coming months, medal hopefuls from Australia, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovenia, Papua New Guinea and Nepal will be heading to the county to stay and train locally as they get ready to compete on the world stage of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Athletes are so far signed up to be in Maidstone, Dartford, Tonbridge, Canterbury and Sevenoaks, with possibly more signings at a later date. They will be competing at London 2012 in judo, athletics, power lifting, gymnastics, 10-metre air rifle, swimming, archery, Tae Kwon Do and table tennis.

Recently, Kent hosted the USA BMX squad, who sampled the Cyclopark (above) facilities near Gravesend that will be open to the public in spring 2012. The hope is that Kent could cement its relationship with the USA further should the Americans agree that the facilities will be used for their training in 2012.

In the months leading up to the road cycling competition taking place at Brands Hatch in September 2012 as part of the Paralympics, cyclists from around the world will be paying a visit to Brands Hatch to train and adapt to the course before they race.

Kent now has more countries signed up to come here than any area in the country and will host the largest international judo training camp at Tonbridge School in December where 300 participants or judoka from around 18 countries will come together to improve their performance and skills.

Athletes will be honing their skills at some of Kents best facilities on offer, but it is not only the venues that have to meet the strict requirements of the London Olympic Organising Committee to be considered a pre-Games training camp.

Tonbridge School, Dartford Judo Centre, Pegasus gymnastics club in Maidstone, Sevenoaks School and venues in Canterbury were all chosen as they can also offer elite athletes the right accommodation, transport links and access to medical help that they need, in and around the surrounding area.

Teams staying and training in the county means they will spend here with local businesses and they will therefore be helping to boost the Kent economy.

Kent County Council has also been negotiating with these nations to encourage long-term connections in tourism, economic development, culture, education and sport.

Already, Australia has agreed to pursue a special arrangement with Kent on economic development and Slovenia wants to work closer on tourism.

With its beautiful landscapes, easy access to the capital, excellent facilities and plenty on offer to see and do, it is no wonder so many countries are choosing to head to Kent. So when you are watching the Games, make sure you cheer on those who spent time here in our local communities, as well as Team GB.

Athletes will be honing their skills at some of Kents best facilities on offer.

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