by Lorna McNiven
This weekend sees young Scots Daniel Keating and Daniel Purvis compete against the global gymnastics elite as the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Tokyo get underway.
Both men began their gymnastics careers at local clubs and now a trailblazing new programme in Dundee is aiming to find medal winning gymnastic stars of the future thanks to funding for coaches from the Big Lottery Fund’s 2014 Communities scheme.
Salto Gymnastics & Trampoline Club are set to go into five primary schools to run weekly lunchtime gymnastic sessions with children who’ve never had the chance to vault or bounce before. Head Coach, Pamela Bowie, explained, “This programme is the first of its kind in Scotland as we can actually go straight into the primary schools, targeting children at the right age who not only become members of the club but are also affiliated to Scottish Gymnastics.”
“This programme will enable us as a nation to provide medal winners in the future but it’s equally important that we also have quality coaches at grassroots level.”
Over the last three years 2014 Communities has invested £113,501 through 78 grassroots gymnastics projects building a legacy of well being across Scotland before and beyond the Glasgow 2014 Games.
Salto club member, Josh Robertson, aged seven said, “I love the Rings and Parallel Bars and would love to take part in Gymnastics Competitions. I attended the Scottish Championships in February and have seen Daniel Keating and Daniel Purvis and would love to be as good as them.”
Scottish Gymnastics are backing the Salto scheme, Tayside Regional Manager Steven Maloney said, “We are really excited about this programme as it’s a template for the way we want to work in the future. Gymnastics is a sport that enhances physical literacy and through the many gymnastics disciplines on offer there is something to attract both boys and girls from all age groups in to the sport.
“In my direct experience 2014 Communities is making a difference to the sport at a grassroots level. In the five clubs I have been involved helping make successful applications to the programme means that at least a 150 young people are new members and have become involved in the sport. That’s just in my area. Without this additional funding we wouldn’t be in this position.”