A FRIENDLY face from home will give the Grenadian Olympic team a warm welcome when its arrives on Wearside.
Student Fayola Moore had planned to head back home to Grenada after completing her modern languages degree at the University of Sunderland – but instead the 29-year-old has delayed the trip so she can welcome her nation’s top athletes on campus next month.
The university was selected for the team’s training base in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Fayola has been given the special honour of supporting the athletes when they arrive.
The Olympic team is familiar to Fayola, as Royston Le Hee, president of the Grenadian national Olympics Committee, is a member of her church in her home town Calivigny, one of the team trainers was her high school coach and her twin sister, Adanna, knows some of the athletes through her role as an award-winning karate instructor.
Fayola said: “I am really looking forward to the team’s arrival. It’s amazing that they are going to be here in Sunderland.
“It’s a great honour to help support the university and the interaction with the athletes will be incredibly exciting. I also think it’s nice that they have someone they’re familiar with, who knows the city and can make that connection.”
Fayola said sport is very much a part of the culture in Granada.
She said: “I would love to see some medals and think we have a good chance. The team is more than capable. Even if they don’t win, it’s an experience for them. It’s also an inspiration for any young boys and girls watching.”
Sadly, Fayola will be flying back home before the games, but says she will definitely be watching them on her television.
Ivan Whitfield, director of sport at the University of Sunderland, said: “I am delighted that Fayola is playing a key role in supporting the Grenadian Olympic team when they arrive in Sunderland.
“She is a wonderful ambassador for the university and the city of Sunderland, and I’m sure she will make the team feel very welcome on campus.”
Fayola, who hopes to work in tourism and leisure, said her time in Sunderland has made her a much more confident person.
She said: “I am coming out of this a much more positive and stronger person. I have met a lot of new friends and feel I have a new family, inside and outside of the university.”