Belfast Telegraph

Belfast gymnastics club set for Austria showpiece

 

Austria-bound: Members of Abbey Gymnastics Club
Austria-bound: Members of Abbey Gymnastics Club

By Gillian Smyth

A gymnastics club from Belfast will be representing Northern Ireland when they take part in the World Gymnaestrada event in Dornbirn, Austria.

World Gymnaestrada, which runs from tomorrow until Saturday, is the largest global gymnastics festival.

It takes place every four years, and this year over 23,000 individuals from a record-breaking 60 countries will take part in the week-long non-competitive festival.

Abbey Gymnastics Club will be the first team from Northern Ireland to perform at a Gymnaestrada event. Head coach Alison McMullan was recently awarded the Spar People's Podium Award and received a bursary to help send the team to Austria.

Abbey Gymnastics Club have joined the 800 British gymnasts in flying out to Austria, the largest team taken to date and nearly double the number who participated in Helsinki in 2015.

The club will perform a routine to celebrate the coming together of communities, which resonates with their coach.

Alison said: "With the World Gymnaestrada theme 'Come Together, Show Your Colours', what better story to tell than that of overcoming The Troubles of Northern Ireland and in particular within our local community?

"With our club being situated on the peace line between the Shankill and Falls, our gymnasts come from diverse social backgrounds and communities.

"Our story demonstrates the difficulties in developing relationships from each side of the divide and what our club stands for. We have broken down barriers enabling our communities to live, work and play together."

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