Centre goes 'above and beyond' to host world class gymnasts

Team Australia training at Waveney Gymnastics Centre in Lowestoft.

Team Australia training at Waveney Gymnastics Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Waveney Gymnastics Centre

It is a global contest that showcases the best of the best from across the Commonwealth.

And, yet again, a Lowestoft-based club has demonstrated its fantastic facilities - by hosting the Australian Men’s and Canadian Men’s gymnastics teams to train at its venue ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Officials at Waveney Gymnastics Club expressed its delight after hosting the Australian Men’s and Canadian Men’s gymnastics teams to train at its centre prior to them going to the Commonwealth Games that are being held in Birmingham from Thursday, July 28.

With the Lowestoft-based club the only permanent, fully equipped, Olympic standard gymnastics facility in the town or the surrounding area, it was through the club’s director of coaching - Peter Etherington - and the centre manager, Alex Row, that the venue was able to attract and host such high level gymnastic teams as they prepare for major competitions in Great Britain.

A club spokesman said: "The benefits to the club are very satisfying as it gives the opportunity for our own club gymnasts, of all abilities, to see top level gymnastics at the centre and to work alongside them for some of the sessions, inspiring everyone who walks through the club.

"Both teams were willing to open the doors for members of the community to come along and see some outstanding gymnastic skills, bearing in mind that this is a deprived area of the country and the cost of travel and tickets for major events are not always easy to purchase."

Open training sessions between July 12 to July 24 that featured the Australian and Canadian Men’s teams saw "several local schools" booked to see sessions and help produce a competitive atmosphere for the teams to get a flavour of performing in front of an audience.

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The Australian delegation included eight gymnasts - three of which were travelling reserves - featuring Mitch Morgans, Clay Stephens, Jessie Moore, Tyson Bull and James Bacueti, with reserves being David Tanner, James Hardy and Heath Thorpe, a head of delegation, a physiotherapist and two coaches.

Mitchell Morgan, Australian gymnast, said: "I am so glad Team Australia did our Commonwealth Games staging camp at Waveney Gymnastics Club.

"The club went above and beyond to make us feel at home and comfortable

"I cannot speak highly enough of all the staff and how much behind the scenes work they did to accommodate us.

"The culture in and out of the gym is great and I have made new friends from this experience- I would definitely want to do it all over again.

"The facilities were also perfect for me to train at the best of my ability and if I could spend longer there I would.

"Great people, great community and great Culture - just what we needed to have a perfect lead in camp for a major event.

"Big thanks to Alex, Pete, Ellen and John and the rest of the staff."

Huge thanks

The Canadian delegation included five gymnasts, Jayson Rampersad, Kenji Tamane, Chris Kaji, Mathys Jalbert and Felix Dolci, with Head National Team Coach Eddie Van Hoof, another coach, head of delegation and a physiotherapist.

Canadian gymnast Kenji Tamane, said: "Huge thanks to Waveney Gymnastics.

"They went above and beyond to help us prepare for the Commonwealth Games.

"They provided a place to train, transportation and even food.

"It’s been a pleasure."

Jersey gymnast Daniel Lee and coach Simon Gale also utilised the club’s training facility in preparation for the games.

All members of each delegation expressed great satisfaction with the hospitality, accommodation, quality of the facility, transport arrangements and the enjoyment of a relaxing area of the country.

Warm welcome

Last Wednesday, July 20, both teams, officers of the Waveney Gymnastics Club and other invited guests from the community gathered for a presentation buffet at the Hotel Victoria for a social banquet in recognition of their visit to the club and the area.

The club spokesman added: "At the gymnastic centre we have installed welcoming banners in recognition of their visits and several local businesses have also sponsored the club to secure other such benefits to the town and community in the future.

"The World Gymnastic Championships are due to take place in the UK later in the year and Waveney Gymnastics Club is already preparing to host some teams for a training camp, so if you want to know more or be a sponsor to help with attracting top gymnastic sports teams to the area and promote the town of Lowestoft and the surrounding area, please get in touch through contacting the club or following our developments on social media.

"Our endeavours to raise the profile of the local community and what we have on offer at the gymnastics club is for the benefit of all local community people and businesses, as well as the club where we are helping many young people live healthier lifestyles and enhance their well being and mental health, following the last two difficult years everybody has experienced.

"The club provides sessions for all abilities - from babies from eight weeks old through to adults, including pre-school, recreational gymnastics and trampoline, squad and disability gymnastics, birthday parties and so much more."

For more information please contact the club on 01502 501419 email admin@waveneygymnastics.org or visit its website.