Gym club's Olympic aim

A GYMNASTICS club in Lowestoft has launched a campaign to attract Olympic teams to train at its centre in the lead-up to London 2012.Waveney MP Bob Blizzard pledged to do all he could to promote the centre as a pre-Olympic training camp for gymnasts, during a guided tour of the facility.

A GYMNASTICS club in Lowestoft has launched a campaign to attract Olympic teams to train at its centre in the lead-up to London 2012.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard pledged to do all he could to promote the centre as a pre-Olympic training camp for gymnasts, during a guided tour of the facility.

Mr Blizzard promised to make use of his links with countries with strong gymnastics backgrounds, such as Brazil and Canada, who are expected to field big teams and will be looking to choose a training base for the Games.

'We've got a first-class facility here that's second to none in the country,' he said. 'It's important now that we promote it and I'm certainly prepared to put some real effort in. It would be very exciting for the town to have top inter-national gymnasts here, and would help put us on the map. It would also be a boost to the local economy.'


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He added: 'I think if we can get a top international team here it will inspire more of our young people not just to participate but to achieve excellence. Let's look forward to the time when there's someone from Lowestoft on the podium with a medal.'

Waveney Gymnastics Club has been approved to host men's and women's national gymnastics teams in the weeks, months and years leading up to the Olympics. Some of the 46 countries expected to send gymnasts to the Olympics may only have one competitor, while stronger teams could be looking for a training base for up to 30 gymnasts and support staff.

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With centres across the country vying to host the bigger teams, the club is embarking on a publicity campaign to showcase its facility, which includes it creating a page on its website, preparing promotional material, and featuring in an online guide used by teams to search for training camps.

Club chairman John Pawsey said that if the club attracts overseas teams during the build-up to the World Gymnastics Championships to be held in October at London's O2 arena, which is also the Olympic gymnastics venue, he was confident they would want to return to Lowestoft in three years' time.

'It's a superb facility and the advantages of Lowestoft are that it's only two and a half hours from the O2, and it's a relaxing area with a welcoming community,' he said.

'Teams may even be prepared to allow people to come in on occasion to watch a training session, which would be fantastic as a lot of people couldn't afford to go to London to see the Games.'

The Southwell Road club, which has more than 1,000 members, has an impressive record of regional and national success. Mr Pawsey said that hopes for the club's own members to compete for a place in the British Olympic team were pinned on the 2016 Games.

For more information, visit www.waveneygymnastics.org.

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