UK Olympic gymnasts have arrived in Northern Ireland to train in the Salto Gymnastics Club in Lisburn. The visit by five gymnasts includes two Beijing Olympians and leading British gymnastics coach Paul Hall who will also run a coaching clinic for Northern Ireland coaches.
Louis Smith is the 2008 Olympic pommel horse bronze medallist, 2009 European silver medallist and the 2010 World and European silver medallist.
Also training in Northern Ireland are Luke Folwell (the most successful British gymnast in Commonwealth Games history with five medals in Delhi 2010) and Daniel Keatings (2009 World and European all-round silver medallist and 2010 European pommel horse Champion).
British Junior gymnasts, Cameron Mackenzie and Thomas Gibbs will also be training alongside Northern Ireland’s own Luke Carson who is funded by Sport Northern Ireland’s Athlete Investment Programme.
Watching the first days training and meeting the gymnasts, Dr Olive Brown, Board Member of Sport Northern Ireland said: “It’s very significant to have Olympic gymnasts train here in Salto. We’re proud of the facilities and expertise on site, including accommodation and ice baths! It is also a good example of an Olympic legacy, that local athlete Luke Carson is training alongside them and under the expert coaching of Paul Hall.
“Salto also boasts many international gymnastic coaches and working with Sport Northern Ireland and Lisburn City Council, we are utilising their world-wide relationships to encourage Olympic squads to consider Northern Ireland as a base for their Olympic pre-games training.”
Olive Brown added, “We’ve already attracted several pre-Olympic events including the Boccia World Cup which takes place this August and there will be further pre-Olympic qualifying events announced in the coming months. Overall we expect to welcome Olympic or Paralympic teams to the Province with many international athletes choosing to train or qualify for their sport in facilities across Northern Ireland. That will be achieved working with our partners in sports venues and Local Councils just as we have with Lisburn City Council here in Salto.”
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