London 2012 hopefuls train at the multi-use OYDC in Zambia

Three young athletes dreaming of competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games are putting the new Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka, Zambia to good use, perfecting their skills at the state-of-the-art, multi-use facility as they vie for qualifying spots that will take them to the British capital this summer.

Titus Kafunda Mukhala (athletics, 100m and 200m), Esther Sandu (judo) and Ben Muzito (boxing) say the centre, which the Olympic Movement and Zambian government opened in 2010, has helped them improve their abilities and raise their aspirations. 

The three athletes received an additional boost of inspiration today when International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to the centre.

Since its opening, the centre has welcomed hundreds of athletes from Zambia and neighbouring countries.

The facility includes synthetic football and hockey pitches, a running track, tennis courts, a boxing ring and multi-purpose areas that can accommodate sports such as basketball, handball, weightlifting, volleyball, judo and gymnastics.

The centre also offers a wide range of educational programmes, health services and community activities aimed at improving the quality of life in a country ravaged by HIV, poverty, crime and unemployment.

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