AFRICAN athletes training for the Commonwealth Games joined dozens of youngsters at a cultural celebration.
Team Lesotho is living and training at Glyndwr University in preparation for the games, but members took time out of their busy schedule to meet school pupils in Wrexham.
Lesotho athletes were also based in Wrexham ahead of the London 2012 Olympics and have returned before the Commonwealth Games begin in Glasgow next week.
The 21 athletes, management team and coaches were treated to a performance of Welsh songs by 60 children from Ysgol Bodhyfryd, Hightown.
The youngsters sang an African chorus and joined the team in an impromptu dance, before presentations were made to the visiting group.
Team manager Tlali Rampooana said: “It is so lovely to be back, it’s fantastic to be here. We are enjoying being back in Wrexham and training is going very well. It is also a pleasure for us to meet people from the community and enjoy special days like this while we are here.
As well as working with Glyndwr’s sports department, boxers have trained at Shotton Amateur Boxing Club with athletes using Deeside Athletics Stadium.
As part of their stay, the team paid a visit to Maelor School, Penley, which has been raising money for a schools link programme with Lesotho.
Glyndwr University vice-chancellor, Prof Michael Scott, said: “We’re thrilled to have them back. When they are here they become part of the Glyndwr community and part of the fabric of life at the university.
“They are enthusiastic and have great energy that rubs off on everyone else.”
Glyndwr’s widening participation co-ordinator, Sarah Lou Gaffney, said:“We are so proud to be able to showcase the singing talents of one of our local Welsh medium primary schools as part of this wonderful international celebration.
“Ysgol Bodhyfryd already has its own close ties with Lesotho and the dedicated partnerships we have with many schools allows even the youngest members of the community to become familiar with the higher education environment in preparation for their future choices.”
Wrexham Council leader Cllr Neil Rogers said: “Lesotho’s decision to bring their Commonwealth Games team to Wrexham builds on our unique relationship which dates back to 1985.
“These links have seen lecturers from Glyndwr University visit the Southern Africa country to help tackle the problem of HIV/AIDS.”
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