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Young Olympic hopefuls flex their muscles

PUBLISHED: 13:07 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 07 September 2010

OLYMPIC stars of tomorrow have showed off their tumbles, jumps and acrobatic skills at Swiss Cottage. A gymnastic extravaganza was held at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre last week to showcase the talents of London's budding Olympians and foster

Daniel Shane

OLYMPIC stars of tomorrow have showed off their tumbles, jumps and acrobatic skills at Swiss Cottage.

A gymnastic extravaganza was held at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre last week to showcase the talents of London's budding Olympians and foster more talent.

Champion gymnasts Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings, tipped for medals at this summer's Olympics in China, wowed the crowds with demonstrations of the pommel horse and also gave masterclasses to children aged 11 and below.

Louis, 18, and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said: "It's great to be able to help promote the sport and get everyone involved. It's something you can have a lot of fun with too."

The event, involving scores of schoolchildren, marked the launch of a partnership between the British Gymnastics Association and Greenwich Leisure Ltd, which manages Camden's leisure centres.

The partnership aims to improve the standard of young, up-and-coming British gymnasts and produce tomorrow's Olympic stars from within the borough.

BGA corporate services director David Brush said: "Events like this are the pathway that can take children through to elite gymnastics. From here, they can learn the basic skills which they can then build on."

GLL runs more than 200 gymnastics courses at 18 leisure centres across London, training 2,000 children a week.

Marketing chief Steve Ward, the company's marketing chief, said: "Young people who enjoy recreational gymnastics will now have access to the best possible training and facilities, with the added incentive of being recognised by a national sports body on completion of their course."

The medal-winning gymnasts are hotly tipped to take Great Britain's only two male places in the discipline at the Beijing Olympics.

But, in the meantime, they were only too happy to pose for photos and sign autographs for enthusiastic children at Swiss Cottage.

Parents who took their children were glad it had been organised and have high hopes for the future.

Mum-of-two Amal Sadek said: "It's quite amazing here today. I'm looking forward to seeing how the children advance in the future."

Debbie Dutton, 42, from Barnet, who regularly takes her children to athletic events, said: "I think it's absolutely brilliant for the children. It publicises what young people can do for sports and how important they are. There should be more events like this."

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk

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