The visit coincided with a community engagement event at the stadium where children from primary and secondary schools across South Wales took part in a question and answer session with the athletes. Some of the pupils also took part in training and received tips and advice from the athletes.
Olympic and Paralympic teams from 17 nations, including approximately 800 athletes and support staff, are training in Wales ahead of the 2012 Games in London, following four years of work by the Welsh Government to attract teams to train in Wales.
The Minister said:
"Olympic athletes training and interacting with our pupils is a wonderful sight. The 2012 Olympic Games will provide Wales with a great opportunity to capitalise on the economic, sporting and cultural legacy. The pre-games training camps in particular provide an excellent opportunity to develop our sporting, educational and cultural exchanges with these countries. For children and local communities they give us the opportunity to learn more about other nations and provide us with a positive Games legacy for Wales."
The pupils’ visit to the training camp complements work already underway as part of the Physical Education and Sport in Schools (PESS) Scheme.
The (PESS) initiative is providing the platform for schools to promote learning opportunities provided by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Education Minister Leighton Andrews recently announced the extension of the PESS initiative until summer 2014, with further funding of £2.35m for the programme in 2012-13, which will be key to embedding this work in all schools.
The funding builds on the Welsh Government’s investment of over £20.7m in the PESS initiative since 2001. The programme, which is led by Sport Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, aims to improve standards and the range of opportunities for pupils to engage in PE and school sport. It also supports the delivery of key targets in the Physical Activity Plan, Creating an Active Wales,.
In 2012-13 the work of the PESS initiative will focus on provision of support and advice to teachers in secondary schools, with an emphasis on ensuring effective links with extra-curricular provision in schools and community-based programmes managed by Sport Wales.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said:
"It’s important that in this Olympic year and throughout their learning, young people in Wales take advantage of the huge benefits that sport brings. We want to encourage our pupils to access the wide range of physical education, sports,and top quality facilities in their schools. This significant funding through the popular PESS initiative will enable them to do just that."
Huw Lewis added:
"It is well known that sport is a major influence on young people and having athletes of global stature training on their doorstep and living in their communities will be hugely inspirational. It is very fitting that the Education Minister has announced extended funding for the PESS initiative that will help ensure we continue to harness this inspiration through the delivery of excellent opportunities for children and young people to take part in the many different sports provided in our schools."