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Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 18:26 UK

First GB athletes arrive in China

Team GB diver Tom Daley arrives in Beijing ahead of the Olympic Games
Diver Daley, 14, looked happy and relaxed on his arrival in Beijing

Great Britain's diving and men's gymnastics teams have become the first GB athletes to arrive in Beijing.

The competitors arrived at the Olympic Village on Monday after a 10-hour flight to China from London.

"It is the best competition accommodation we've ever stayed in, our bedrooms have so many Team GB touches," said diver Ben Swain.

Many of the GB athletes will fly to a holding camp in Macau before heading on to Beijing for the Games.

There are 96 beds in Team GB's block in the Olympic Village, and diver Nick Robinson-Davis added: "Our accommodation is awesome."

The manager of British Olympic performance has said the camp allows athletes to adapt.

Tom Daley, at 14 the youngest member of the GB squad, expressed his amazement at the dining hall in the Olympic Village.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," said Daley.

"It is the size of four football pitches and there is every food imaginable. The whole village is amazing and I can't wait to get in the pool."

British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg is confident that preparations in Beijing have gone as well as possible.

"It is really exciting times," Clegg told BBC 5 Live.

"Everyone is primed here in Beijing and excited about the Olympic games starting. With the arrival of the first GB athletes there is a lot of excitement."


Clegg moved to allay fears over the quality of the air in Beijing.

"This week has not been particularly good but last Thursday, Friday and Saturday there were absolutely blue skies," added Clegg.

"We continue to have every confidence that it will be fine for the duration of the Games."

GB athletes are starting to arrive at the holding camp in Macau before moving on to Beijing, and Team GB performance director Bernie Cotton is confident this will aid their preparation.

Beijing's air pollution has not improved.

"There is a unique combination of excellent facilities and good accommodation with everything really close together," Cotton told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The Olympic Village can become full of distractions and boring for some athletes. The training facilities are very crowded."

Cotton estimates that the holding camp, which runs for five weeks, will cost in the region of 1m, but is confident it represents good value for money.

"There is a real value," he added. "A value in performance terms, in allowing the athletes to get ready in peace and calm and with the best facilities possible. But then there is also a team ethos that builds here."

see also
Beijing's Olympic village opens
27 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Lingering pollution worries China
28 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Beijing pollution-watch
28 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Tweddle doubts 2012 participation
22 Jul 08 |  Gymnastics
Smith aims for pommel horse glory
22 Jul 08 |  Gymnastics
Injured Jones out of Olympic team
18 Jul 08 |  Gymnastics

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