Last weekend I participated in a chess tournament in St. Albans as I now occasionally do at various locations. I have been entering these tournaments for 26 years and I have never won an event which is fine as the outcomes come from an appropriate mix of skill, merit and luck. It is nevertheless tantalising to be finishing second or third on a number of occasions and not quite making it to the top. I could try the excuse of not being ruthless enough or of being too nice but some people might argue that this would fail the test of plausible deniability. Nevertheless I do value perseverance and the idea that taking part is more important than winning.
While I was heading off to St. Albans,Crawley was privileged to have a visit from members of the Malawi Olympic Committee. Crawley Council has previous ties with Malawi through a technical co-operation in the 1990s and two Chief Executives ago. This was about exchanging good practice in local government and involved co-operation and liaison with the principal cities ofLilongwe, the capital, andBlantyre. It was therefore pleasing thatMalawimade the first approach to us for our 2012 Summer Olympics training camp bid.
Malawi demonstrates perseverance, commitment and the pursuit of Olympic values. From the President’s page of the Malawi Olympic Committee, “Olympism is way of life today. It is my hope that through this website, the educational, cultural, human development aspects of our generation will be appreciated. Our youth can learn a lot through participation in sports that can shape the future of our nation.”
Malawi fielded a team of four competitors at the 2008 Summer Olympics in athletics and swimming disciplines. On that occasion, the competitors from Malawi did not proceed to later rounds and the country has not so far won an Olympic medal but there is the laudable ambition to do so. It is expected that the 2012 team will also have four members.
The delegation fromMalawivisited K2,ThomasBennettCollegeand the Town Hall. During their visit, I hope that they were impressed with what Crawley has to offer. With more than three years before the Summer Olympics, it would be great to see other countries expressing an interest as well.
Crawley is in a partnership offering up Olympic training camp facilities. We are “competing” against a range of other venues across the country. I really that hope that we might attract a range of teams and in our own small way assist them to achieve their ambitions. That is the natural behaviour of an ambitious community – and it is a nice thing to do.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council
8th April 2009