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Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle in bid to inspire next generation

Champion gymnast Beth Tweddle visited Fareham Leisure Centre where she took part in the re-launch of the centre's gymnastics club. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141802-1)

Champion gymnast Beth Tweddle visited Fareham Leisure Centre where she took part in the re-launch of the centre's gymnastics club. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141802-1)

OLYMPIC gymnast Beth Tweddle helped inspire future stars at a sports open day in Fareham.

The bronze medal winner, 29, met young gymnasts at Fareham Leisure Centre.

‘They are having an open day and showing off the advantages of gymnastics which is why I am here,’ she told The News.

‘I want every kid to have a go at gymnastics.

‘They have got an amazing set up here.

‘I was seven, going on eight, when I first tried it. These children are aged from two years old.

‘It is all about body awareness and having a go at everything. Even if they haven’t taken to it, at least they have tried it. Every kid has got their calling and it’s just finding out what it is.

‘There is so much enthusiasm here for sport and activities. There are things for everyone here and everyone can have a go at sport.’

During the afternoon, Beth signed autographs and had photos taken with her young fans.

Barbara Hobbs, head coach at Fareham Leisure Centre, invited Beth to go to the centre and meet children on Saturday.

Barbara’s daughter, Vanessa Massey, competed in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Beth.

‘We used to be in an old hall but now we have this new one with better equipment,’ said Barbara, who has been a gymnastics teacher at Fareham Leisure Centre for the last 21 years.

‘We teach pre-school children up to the age of five as well as recreational gymnastics during term-time.

‘My daughter is an Olympian and the pair of them trained together. Beth is a family friend.

‘We are holding an open day to really push for more young people to have a go at gymnastics.

‘We have had lots of people here and we have had displays from the children to show what they can do and try and encourage others to take part.

‘Basically the day has been set up for children to see how far they can go.

‘Beth started when she was young and she has made such a career out of it.

‘It shows that you can progress and make it to the top.’

 

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