OLYMPIANS from seven countries in Oceana have arrived in Kendal to prepare for the London Games.

Judo stars from Samoa, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Guam, Solomon Islands, Palau and Vanuatu will train at Kendal Dojo for the next fortnight before they go to the Olympic Village.

And their first impressions of the facilities at the Dojo have been favourable.

“We don’t have this kind of equipment in my country so it’s a big opportunity for us,” said Nazario Fiakaifonu, who represents Vanuatu.

“This preparation time will help us to understand and improve our techniques more so it’s fantastic for us.”

Jet lag is likely to affect some of the athletes for the next few days, including heavyweight Ric Blas, from Guam, who arrived in Kendal at 1am yesterday morning.

“Guam is a very small island so I am very happy to arrive in Britain,” said the 100-kilo competitor.

“This is an amazing facility with great coaches, so my first impression is that I really like it here.”

One judo player has been in Kendal for a lot longer than the recent arrivals, and is believed to have been the first Olympian to come to Britain.

Papua New Guinea representative Raymond Ovinou arrived in early June, and has been training intensely ever since.

“I like Kendal and have made a lot of friends since I’ve been here,” he said.

“I’m a bit nervous about the Olympics but excited and I’m looking forward to going to London.”

The judo takes place on the first week of the Olympics, from Saturday, July 28 to Saturday, August 4, and a mixture of nerves and excitement are settling among the competitors.

“I’m feeling nervous and it’s quite overwhelming when you think about it,” said Palau judo competitor Jennifer Anson.

“But it’s obviously great to be representing my country and I feel very blessed and excited to have made it to the Olympics.”

Mike Liptrot, head coach, said: “Having Olympic athletes here is massive for the town and the Dojo.

“We’ve been working with universities such as UCLAN for six years so it’s brilliant to have these Olympians here now.

“Kendal is quite a big name in judo and it has been great to see some of the Olympians having classes with the children, which can only improve the youngsters.

“But it has also been great to learn about other cultures and the way they do things that are different to us.”

Michael Horley and David Groom, Kendal Judo Club members who just missed the cut for this year’s Olympics, are expected to stay in Kendal over the next few weeks to train with the Oceana judo players.

Fijian competitor Joseteki Naulu is expected to arrive in Kendal next week.