Mohamed Diame is gearing up for London 2012 after being named in Senegal’s Olympic squad.
The West Ham United midfielder is one of three over-age players named by the Senegal Football Federation for the Games, which will see Senegal take on his new team-mate James Tomkins and Team GB in Group A.
With the likes of former Hammer Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse not includes, Diame is one of only two English-based players in the squad alongside Everton youngster Magaye Gueye.
The 25-year-old summer capture from Wigan Athletic told whufc.com of his joy at being involved in the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I am very excited and happy to be representing my country at the Olympics in London,” he said. “I received a call from Senegal to say I was in the squad and so we start our training now for that.
“For me it is a big thing, not only as a player but for my country – it is the first time ever that Senegal will take a team to play in the Olympics and so it is very special not only for the team, but for everyone in our country.
“We know the interest and support we will have from everyone back home will be very big, so we want to make sure we do our best to represent our country very well.
“I am one of the over-age players and we have a mix of players in the squad. I will try to help the younger players but also make sure I will do my best on the pitch for my country.
“I would like to thank the gaffer [Sam Allardyce] and West Ham for allowing me to join up with my country to take part in the Olympics – I will miss out on some pre-season training but I will be working hard and training hard so I am ready when I return to West Ham.”
After spending last week training with West Ham in Austria and completing 90 minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at FK Austria Wien, Diame travelled to Senegal’s pre-Olympic training camp in France on Monday.
Senegal open their Olympic campaign against Team GB at Old Trafford on 26 July, before moving to face Uruguay at Wembley three days later. The first-time qualifiers conclude their Group A campaign when taking on United Arab Emirates in Coventry on 1 August.