'It's inspirational to think this is Louis Smith's beam'

Bucks Free Press: The new Wycombe Gynmastics Academy The new Wycombe Gynmastics Academy

IF you want to train on the very horse on which Louis Smith won Olympic silver, or the bars that carried Beth Tweddle to bronze or the beam that helped Team GB to their first team medal in 100 years, then you can.

And you don’t even need to leave Wycombe.

A range of gymnastics equipment used in London 2012 has been bought by a new club in Wycombe – and if they had the funding they’d buy even more.

The newly-formed Wycombe Gymnastics Academy is one of only two fully-equipped gyms in the country and can count the bars, vault, landing areas and beam used at the North Greenwich Arena as its jewels in the crown.

Head coach Daniel Fearn said: “It’s so inspirational to think this is Beth Tweddle’s bar or this is Louis Smith’s beam.”

In fact, it’s cost the club about £50,000 to secure the Games equipment it does have, and double that to fit out the gym completely.

It’s so inspirational to think this is Beth Tweddle’s bar or this is Louis Smith’s beam.

Daniel Fearn

That money has been self-raised, but Fearn will consider it a good investment if, as he predicts, a host of future Olympians pass through his doors.

Ten-year-old Lucie Pryor from Marlow plus Gerrards Cross duo Lauren Matthew, nine, and Ellie Bowe, ten, are just some of the girls he thinks have the potential to go all the way.

He said: “There are a few that are phenomenally talented and could definitely end up in the Olympics or World Championships.

“There are three or four girls that could definitely go to Rio and in the category below [seven to ten years old] there are about 16 girls that are in the British Elite Class and could go to the Olympics after that.”

But for some of the older girls, this is their make or break year.

Fearn said: “It’s the year after the Olympics and a lot of older gymnasts have gone on to do other things, so for the younger hopefuls this is their shot.

“They’re training 20 hours a week with six dedicated coaches.

“That’s why we wanted a purpose-built, fully-equipped gym of the highest standard.

“We went to several companies and said this is what we want and asked them for a price, but the Olympics company under-slashed everybody so as soon as the Games finished they passed the equipment on to us.

“There is still a lot of equipment left over that they are trying to sell us, but we just can’t afford it at the moment.”

The Wycombe gym already has 100 members but has the capacity from more than 800.

Fearn also manages a recreational gym in Chalfont.

http://www.wycombegymnasticsacademy.com

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