Chinese Olympic swimmers make a splash in south Leeds

Chinese Olympic swimmers John charles centre
Chinese Olympians dive in at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds

China’s Olympic athletes have begun arriving in Leeds as they begin their pre-Games training camp ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games – and they’ve alrready been making a splash at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Approximately 220 athletes, coaches and support staff will be based in Leeds over the coming four weeks as the sporting superpower which led the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Games completes its preparations for the world’s greatest sporting event.

Members of the China swimming team have already been put through their paces at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport after arriving in Leeds over the weekend.

They included leading trio Lu Ying, Li Xuanxu and Chen Qian who all claimed medals in the 2011 FINA World Championships and will all be targeting more success in London. For 18-year-old Li Xuanxu this will be her second Olympic Games after competing in Beijing in 2008 at the age of just 14.

The swimmers will be joined in Leeds between now and Wednesday 8 August by athletes in seven other sports – table tennis, fencing, Taekwondo, track and field athletics, boxing, hockey, and canoe slalom.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure – and Beeston and Holbeck Councillor – Adam Ogilvie said:

“This is a historic achievement for Leeds to attract a real sporting superpower, and the media attention at the John Charles Centre for Sport to see their swimmers training was great to see and is a real testament to the world-class facilities we have.

“Hopefully that has set the tone for a very successful few weeks and beyond as we look to strengthen our cultural and economic ties with China in the future.”