TOKYO2020

Hosting Foreign Athletes

    Athletes around the world have their eyes on the Games, and a diligent few are getting an early start training in Japan. Earlier this month, yachts arrived in this coastal town west of Tokyo. They belong to the UK's sailing team, here for three weeks of training.

    Hayama is a renowned beach town and was one of the first places to introduce yachting in Japan, around a century ago.

    Town people, including local children, welcomed their Olympic guests.

    The town managed to find accommodation for the 50 members of the team.

    Volunteers support the team with all kinds of daily needs from driving to shopping at local stores.

    "I am so happy to be able to participate in some way in one of the biggest events in the world," says one volunteer.

    At the training camp opening ceremony the children presented the team members with handmade gold medals.

    "The town is so welcoming and that's an important part of this all experience for the team to prepare," says team coach John Bertrand.

    Hayama Mayor Takahito Yamanashi is also supportive.

    "What is important is how well our town can provide a relaxing environment for these athletes who push themselves to extreme limits," he says.

    A smaller team of Dutch wind-surfers has also arrived and found a cozy private house for the summer.

    "For the real Olympics, it is important for us that we create an environment feeling a bit like home," says team member Lilian de Geus.

    "Then if you are in the water you are freeing you head and you can just train."

    The UK team got underway with their first training session in Japanese waters.

    "We have seen some nice winds. It is looking like it's going to be a fantastic venue for sailing," says team member Nick Thompson.

    A fierce race has begun for athletes from around the world. And it will get more intense, just like Japan's summer heat.