East Lothian Council sports officers lend a hand on trip to Rwanda

Published by East Lothian Courier
On 31 October 2016 saa 01:12
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A delegation of the county’s sports development officers and coaches travelled to Rwanda earlier this month.

The trip to the African nation was part of the partnership between East Lothian Council and the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC), signed during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

In the build-up to the Games, the local authority was designated Rwanda as one of its ‘second teams’ as part of the ‘Support a Second Team’ initiative.

Athletes from Rwanda prepared for the Games using facilities in East Lothian.

The delegation was made up of East Lothian football development officer Sean McAuley; Scottish Football Association Community Coach Alan White; coaches from Tranent Colts; Fergus Pringle, the county’s rugby development officer; and athletics development officer Jamie Bowie, who represented Team Scotland at the Glasgow Games.

Scott Wight, captain of Scotland’s rugby 7s team, was also on hand to help identify potential Rwandan 7s stars.

Mr Pringle, who was raised in South Africa, said it was “an amazing experience”. He said: “We worked on four sports – beach volleyball, rugby 7s, swimming and football – which are all sports they’ve identified they can develop for the Gold Coast [venue of the Commonwealth Games] in 2018.

“You can’t help but be touched by it on a personal and a professional level.”

Pringle added that the trip was just the start of the relationship between East Lothian Council and the RNOSC.

He added: “The idea is that they will come back here at some stage.”

Phil Purves, one of the coaches from Tranent Juniors who made the trip, added: “We worked with some disabled kids, and we enjoyed it so much we even went back on our day off to do another session. It was unbelievable – the reaction we got from all the locals really was something else.”

The Rwandan national football team had been expected in East Lothian last year for a training camp, but that was postponed due to visa issues.

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Members of the East Lothian contingent with some Rwandan youngsters during their trip to the East African country earlier this month