Joanna Lumley invites Nepal 2012 Olympic team to stay at her house
Their performance at the Beijing Olympics means they are unlikely to be long-term house guests.
Which is somewhat lucky for Joanna Lumley, who has invited the entire Nepalese Olympic team to stay with her when they compete in the 2012 London Games.
The Absolutely Fabulous actress, who was last week hailed as a ‘Goddess of Nepal’ for her part in the Gurkha Justice campaign, had arranged for the country’s squad of ten athletes to be based in Kent during the competition.
But the 63-year-old chose to issue a more personal invitation during her trip to Nepal last week, saying the team would be welcome at her London home.
The five-storey Georgian townhouse, which looks out on to a square, has enough space for around half a dozen guests.
‘It was one of many lovely surprises during our trip and one I hope they will take up,’ she said.
Nepal sent eight athletes to last year’s Beijing Games to compete in athletics, weightlifting, shooting, swimming and tae kwon do.
But while the Gurkhas may strike fear into their enemies’ hearts with their famous war cry ‘Ayo Gorkhali’ – ‘the Gurkhas are coming’ – other nations had little to fear from the Nepalese Olympians. K.B. Adhikari, who competed in the men’s 69kg weightlifting event, was 22nd out of 24.
Nepal’s National Sports Council has an annual budget of just £1.5million, compared with the £600million that the British Olympic Association received in 2007 alone.
Last week, thousands of Nepalese gathered to catch a glimpse of Ms Lumley as she arrived in Nepal on a week-long trip.
The actress, who played a pivotal role in a campaign to allow retired members of the Gurkha regiment to be given British citizenship, was draped in garlands of flowers and silk scarves as she made her way through Kathmandu’s airport.
‘There was also a letter of invitation to Nepal. We handed it over to the prime minister and he was delighted to receive it. It was too soon for him to make an immediate response but I would think it very hopeful that the Nepal team will come to Kent.’
The letter invites them to use Kent’s training camps for their Olympics and Paralympics teams for the 2012 Games.
(by Metthew Bell MailOnline)