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Fan cycles to Weymouth from Beijing
10:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012 in Weymouth and Portland Sailing Olympics and Paralympics 2012 News By Emily Stott
AN OLYMPIC fan from Germany has cycled from China to Weymouth to catch the sailing and windsurfing events.
Heino Becker, 74, of Basel, set off early in February from Kunming, China, and arrived in Weymouth this week.
The journey which he took with the ‘China by bike’ group took them through 17 countries and over 9,000 miles.
After watching the opening ceremony in London with his friend Inga Girke, 74, of Canada, the pair left the group behind and carried on to Southampton and then to Weymouth.
This isn’t the first time Mr Becker has made a journey by bike, for the last Olympics he cycled from Athens to Beijing to watch the sporting events there.
This year Mr Becker travelled through China and then the Himalayas where conditions were extremely cold and windy. He then went onto Nepal and India, staying in small hotels and even camping.
Mr Becker said: “There was no heating in Lhaze, China. We left a bucket of water in the room, went for dinner and when we came back the bucket was frozen in the room.”
Mr Becker arrived in England on July 26 in Harwich and finished his Olympic tour in Weymouth.
“We watched the opening ceremony on TV. It was exciting and really very interesting. I’m going to be watching the windsurfing and the sailing we can watch from the garden.”
Mr Becker said he hadn’t cycled in over forty years before the trip made to Beijing four years ago.
He added: “I am lucky to be rather healthy but it shows that it is possible for anyone.”
Mr Becker is in England for two days before heading back by bike to Germany.
Much to his dismay the possibility of travelling some of the way back by train has been discussed.
He said: “This was the last big tour; I’ll do small tours of course but not half a year. I feel old enough to do something else, I have more interests and half a year has been a big part of my life.”
He added: “But if there’s a tour in North Korea I will be the first to sign up for this tour. You may hear very bad information about a country but if you are there you will see it’s nothing like that.”
Mr Becker said it was important to experience other cultures and really learn about them from firsthand experience. It seems his thirst for adventure will not be satisfied just yet.
Mr Becker and Mrs Girke are currently staying with Elaine and David Rockingham, of Belle Vue Road, Weymouth.
The Weymouth couple are sponsoring Mrs Girke’s daughter Nikola Girke, 34, also of Canada who is competing in the Windsurfing Olympics.
Mrs Girke said: “My daughter only gets two rest days till August 7th and she will be racing all that time. Sometimes it can be quite dangerous, she’s had to be rescued before when she was too far out in the sea.”
Elaine Rockingham, of Belle Vue Road, said: “Heino’s come along to stay with us for a few days. When we were told he’s arriving by bike from China we couldn’t believe it.”
Star’s dad prays he can go on
THE father of Team GB’s Paul Goodison is praying that he can overcome injury to sail to victory.
Paul Goodison, of Wyke Regis, injured his back on Monday in the sailing Olympics jeopardising his gold medal dreams.
Physiotherapists have been working to get Paul up and running but permanent injury could be a risk.
Roy Goodison, of Rotherham, father of Paul, said: “His partner Saskia is so worried he’s going to make it worse. We all are but we’re supporting him all the way.”
He added: “He’s a big boy now he can look after himself. It’s been four years work so he won’t give up now. He’s determined to carry on but that’s up to the doctors now.”
Mr Goodison also added: “We could see him on the screens trying to lift things and looking around for someone to help him. He must be really struggling with his back and it’s hard for us to watch.”
Paul’s aunt, Kate Blackwell, said: “He’s already won a gold medal before in the championships. We’re supporting the GB team but we’re supporting Paul all the way.”
Goodison is the defending champion in the Laser Class.