27 November 2014Beth helps Surrey youngsters jump to it
Olympic medallist and three time World Champion Beth Tweddle visited Spelthorne Leisure Centre to inspire the gymnasts of the future.
Last Tuesday (November 18), Miss Tweddle was joined by almost 100 children of all standards at the free class in Staines.
She said: “It’s been great, today we thought we would try and give gymnastics a new lease of life and get the excitement for it going.
“You can see the enthusiasm of the coaches and the kids, and they seem to really love it, it’s been a great success.”
The popular gymnast, now retired, spent three hours with the youngsters helping them improve their technique including vaulting.
“I always see kids with great potential and there have been lots of little ones today, it’s been really nice," she said.
Gymnastics was rocketed more into the public eye with the London 2012 Olympics, where Miss Tweddle won bronze on the uneven bars.
“Since the Olympics I’ve seen the interest – including with my own academies – go up massively,” she said. “A lot of gym clubs have said their numbers have increased. The general vibe about gymnastics in the UK has grown, people are aware of what our results are, and people can actually name British gymnasts now.”
Talking to the Surrey Herald, the medallist said there were plenty of boys interested now as well as girls.
“There have been boys down as well,” she said. “And the guys at the Olympics were incredible - so now these little ones have role-models to look up to. It’s just trying to encourage that it is a boys and girls sport.”
The open afternoon was held as Spelthorne Leisure Centre, operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Spelthorne Borough Council, celebrated taking over management, and the expansion, of the Magna Carta School of Gymnastics.
Miss Tweddle said: “It’s great to see the local council supporting the sport so much, and giving the opportunity to the kids to get involved in gymnastics.”
Karl Miles, Everyone Active Contract Manager at Spelthorne Leisure Centre was honoured to have the Olympian launch the event.
He said: “Gymnastics is a fantastic sport which is really growing in popularity.
“We’re delighted to be joining forces with Hollie and Nicola, from the Magna Carta team, to allow even more youngsters to benefit from their expertise and the facilities we have at Spelthorne Leisure Centre.
“The open afternoon is a great opportunity for children to learn from an Olympian and meet one of our country’s great sporting stars.”
Commenting on the afternoon of hand-stand-forward-rolls and cartwheels, Miss Tweddle said: “The kids have all gone home with a smile on their face, a picture or autograph and the general enthusiasm has been brilliant.”