Aston_namesignSeptember 11 - Aston, a village in Hertfordshire with a population of less than a thousand residents, will be able to share in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics after it was announced that the British Virgin Islands will be basing themselves there before the Games.

As insidethegames had reported in June, the tiny Caribbean country had already decided to locate themselves in Hertfordshire but were looking for a suitable location within the county.

The small village, located close to Stevenage and which is mentioned in the Domesday Book, was chosen after Dean Greenaway, the secretary general of the British Virgin Islands' (BVI) Olympic committee, Dean Greenaway, was given a warm reception when he visited Aston recently.

The team will be staying with villagers and be receiving help with transport.

Up to 15 athletes and officials are expected to travel to London for the 2012 Olympics.

The biggest team to represent the British Virgin Islands was nine at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, when they made their debut.

David Stimpson, the chairman of Aston Parish Council, said: "The team doesn't have a huge budget and without friendly assistance like this it could make it very difficult.

"It could make the difference between them being able to come and not being able to come.

The British Virgin Islands will have access to a number of facilities located nearby, including the Hertfordshire University's Sports Village in Hatfield and the Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City.

Greenaway said: "I have felt so welcome here and seen such great facilities for my athletes to train at, which, together with the warm and friendly welcome from the Aston villagers, only confirms my decision that Hertfordshire is the place of choice.

"Where else could we possibly want to go?

"The facilities are fantastic and the environment is conducive to producing great performances.

"I was particularly happy to meet the people of Aston because over the last two years I've heard a lot about the village.

"My visit helped cement what will be a lasting relationship."

The British Virgin Islands is an British overseas territory with a population of just 22,000.

Since their debut they have competed in every Summer Games.

But they are still waiting their first medal.

They sent only two athletes to the Olympics in Beijing last year, discus thrower Eric Matthias and Tahesia Harrigan, who competed in the women's 100 metres.

Both were knocked out in the qualifying rounds.

But there are great hopes for Harrigan, who won a bronze medal in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia last year, and who reached the semi-final of the World Championships in Berlin last month.

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