TEAM GB’s Olympic heroes are inspiring youngsters in North Somerset to take up new sports.
Some clubs in the area have reported a sharp rise in interest since the London Olympics began, sparking a new wave of enthusiasm with many youngsters choosing to enrol in classes including gymnastics, tennis and athletics.
Gill Ford, from the Portishead Academy of Gymnastics, where British Olympian Imogen Cairns and reserve Ruby Harrold train, said: “Over the past couple of weeks we have seen an increase in both our summer day camp activities and people wanting to sign up for gym classes.
“One mum said her daughter was so inspired after watching Imogen compete on TV that she has lived in her leotard ever since and is counting the days until she can become a member of the gym.”
Gemini Gymnastics Club in Nailsea has also seen a surge in parents registering their children for classes at its Blackfriars Road base.
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Club director Jill Pope said: “We have had lots of interest in the past week and I’m sure it is because of the Olympics.
“One mum left a message saying her five-year-old daughter had watched gymnastics on the TV and said she wanted to compete in the Olympics when she is older.”
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Laurence Gully, who manages Gordano School Community Trust Sports Centre, says seeing so many British sportsmen and women do well in the Olympics is encouraging a whole new generation.
He said: “We anticipated a surge in interest because of the Olympics and that is exactly what has happened. TV interviews have demonstrated how ordinary people have made their sporting dreams come true by hard work, training and determination, and this has inspired more young people to sign up to sports courses and aim high.”
The Portishead centre held its own mini Olympics last week where children competed in badminton (pictured above) handball, basketball, football, hockey, gymnastics, and many athletic events, winning medals and prizes.