Sign of progress
HUNTINGDON S Olympic Gym, which trains some of Britain s top Olympic hopefuls may already be on the international map. But the club, which is fundraising for a £3.5million extension, has a new sign, paid for by the Rotary Clubs for Huntingdon, St Ives and
HUNTINGDON'S Olympic Gym, which trains some of Britain's top Olympic hopefuls may already be on the international map.
But the club, which is fundraising for a £3.5million extension, has a new sign, paid for by the Rotary Clubs for Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey.
The club, whose head coach, Paul Hall, is also a coach for Britain's Olympic gymnastics squad, has about 400 members. They range from pre-school children to people in their 50s and from ordinary members of the public to world class athletes.
However, the elite athletes have to compete for space and time at the gym alongside other members of the public. Members travel from as far afield as Peterborough and Milton Keynes to train at the gym.
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The club trained four members for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, including Lewis Smith, who at 16 was Commonwealth and European champion on the pommel horse.
In September, four athletes from the gym made up a quarter of the British squad at the World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart.
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Louis Smith won bronze and Daniel Keatings reached the final. The two other members of the team were Luke Folwell and Marissa King, who went on to be awarded Living Sport awards in November.
The gym is still seeking sponsors for the expansion project. If it can raise the cash, the gym will play a major part in Britain's preparation for the games.
Dan Conan, Rotary spokesman, said: "We hope this will herald a new era of expansion for the gym. Its success has been in terms of 'gymnastics for all'.
"Members of the squad win national and international competitions on a regular basis and there are weekly clubs for young people of all abilities, as well as for groups with special needs.
"The waiting list for membership is now very large and the club has plans for major extensions which the Rotary Club is keen to support.