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The Brazilian Women’s Handball team – currently ranked 5th in the World are one of the first Olympic groups to come to the UK - and they are staying at Romford’s Harefield Manor, in Main Road, for the week.

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Owner Paul Harris, 65, said: “It’s great that they are here. They are the first Olympic team in the UK and we have them staying for a week.

“They found us through looking up local hotels on the internet.

“Due to their tight schedule, they haven’t been able to wander through Romford, although I expect they might have a chance to go around Friday or Saturday, but at the moment they haven’t stopped training – they are up at 8.30am every day.”

“I will be sure to direct them to the Liberty or the bowling alley.”

They have come to the UK to get in as much training practice, at Mayesbrook Park, Dagenham, as they can before they disband and go back to playing for their respective clubs in Europe and Brazil.

While in the UK, they will be playing friendly matches with England and Norway to prepare for the summer games and will visit the Stratford stadium for the first time.

Coach Morten Soubak, 47, said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to train at the official Olympic stadium.

“We have great expectations that we will make a breakthrough during the Olympics.

“We have the dream that we will be able to fight for the medals. If that will happen it will be fantastic for Brazilian handball.

“We are on the right way but now we are talking about the Olympics, everyone knows the top teams will be at the games and it will be a big challenge.”

Travelling with the 30 woman handball army is photographer Cinara Piccolo. She said: “Looking around it seems really cosy.

“It is very different from Brazil, because in Brazil we have a lot of very high buildings, but everything here is really low – It’s nice to see the sky and trees!

“The team will be able to experience the security protocol and they are very excited to see the stadium for the first time.

“They are doing a lot of training with physical coach Lars Michalsik, who has a PHD in Handball, which will improve their strength.”

Prior to their England match today, the friendly and energetic bunch tucked into spaghetti Bolognese, full of carbohydrates at Harefield Manor and will return to the hotel tonight to eat high protein-rich steak and fish.

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