With just over a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Liam Heath recently welcomed a group of schoolchildren from Motomiya, Japan as part of a partnership with the British Olympic Association.
The group watched Liam complete a gruelling training session, before taking part in a question and answer session hosted by the reigning Olympic champion.
The children were accompanied by the Mayor of Motomiya, Mr Gigyo Takamatsu and the Superintendant of the Board of Education.
It was great to see a top athlete in training, in beautiful weather in a beautiful setting, it must’ve inspired the children– Mr Gigyo Takamatsu, Mayor of Motomiya
Mr Gigyo Takamatsu said: “It was great to see a top athlete in training, in beautiful weather, in a beautiful setting. It must have inspired the children.
“At the beginning they were nervous because he is such a top athlete, but the inspiration is huge, not only for sports but having a bigger dream.
"It was a great opportunity to see him”.
Since 2017, Motomiya city has been running an annual trip to London, to develop the pupils’ international understanding, get them motivated to learn English, and show everyone how far Fukushima has come since the 2011 disaster.
During this time, the British Olympic Association have developed a close working relationship with Motomiya and 2018 it was made an “Arigatou” host town for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In collaboration with the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association, Motomiya will now begin an exchange programme with a school in London to build a long-lasting connection with Britain.
During this visit students from Motomiya will be paired with students from a London based school where they will build a “pen-pal” relationship, where students can practise their language skills and discuss the upcoming games.