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Sports minister Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, in Rio for Olympics

Being sports minister in Olympic year has its obvious up-sides, but there’s work to be done before taking your ringside seat at the greatest show on earth.

Chatham MP Tracey Crouch has had a whirlwind schedule of meetings, receptions and media calls since she arrived in Rio last week.

There have been lighter moments, like the time she was almost entirely enveloped by the Union Jack being held by Andy Murray at the official Team GB photocall, which led to the Princess Royal mocking the Wimbledon and OIympic champion’s flag-bearing skills.

Tracey Crouch with Team GB in Rio. Picture: @tracey_crouch on Twitter
Tracey Crouch with Team GB in Rio. Picture: @tracey_crouch on Twitter

The MP, who had only recently returned full-time from maternity leave, has left six-month-old Freddie at home with his father – hardly surprising when the minister has been involved in meetings with foreign counterparts lasting several hours.

While the scare over the zika virus, which has affected babies in Brazil, has led to health warnings and a few athletes, notably golfers, to stay at home, there were no such fears for Miss Crouch. She said the virus was hardly being mentioned in Rio and as it was winter the risk was not so high and with proper repellant it was “minimal”.

Speaking before Friday’s opening ceremony, she added: “Morale within Team GB is high. The training camp facilities have been excellent and the venues are all ready.”

She had spoken to Medway’s Rachael Burford who is with the British rugby sevens team and all were looking forward to the competition starting.

It is the second Olympics for Medway trampolinist Kat Driscoll who is determined to do better than London when she went out at the preliminary stage, while the men’s hockey team includes Chatham-born Ashley Jackson, who is one of a dozen Kent-based players in the squad, including seven from Holcombe.

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