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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Canada take first place at Games
Canada's gymnasts arrive in Manchester
The Canadians will be training with the English team
The first competitors have arrived in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games.

Eight members of the Canadian gymnastics team have the honour of being the first to try out the athletes' village, based at Manchester University's Fallowfield campus.

With less than two weeks before the start of the games - the UK's biggest ever sports event - hundreds more athletes from 72 nations will arrive in the coming week.

The Canadian gymnasts said they were excited about being in the city to put the finishing touches to their training.

Returning home

Kate Richardson, 18, who is half-British, said: "It is very important for us to arrive early.

"It is the last week of our training camp and we will be training with the English team, so that will push us even more.

"I used to come to Britain a lot to see my grandma in Folkestone, but to come to compete is obviously very special."

For one of the team's coaches, flying to Manchester meant returning to the place of his childhood.

Synchronised trolley pushing at Manchester Airport
Canada expect a large medal haul at the Games
Women's team coach David Kenwright, 39, left Chorlton-cum-Hardy 13 years ago to become a full-time gymnastics coach in Canada.

He displayed confidence in the team's ability saying: "We can place in the top three teams.

"Australia will be tough to beat, and also England so it should be a really good competition."

The hundreds of competitors who will descend on Manchester in the coming days will be given welcome packs and allocated rooms in the athletes' village.

At Fallowfield, organisers have built a cinema, games room and dining areas along with a shopping complex that includes a dry cleaners, hairdresser, bank and newsagents.

The Games begin on 25 July, with the gymnastics starting the following day with the men's team event.


Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

28 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
18 Jun 02 | England
18 Jun 02 | Wales
11 Jun 02 | Technology
20 Jun 02 | Wales
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