Posted on 23/07/2018 in Acrobatic
Olympic medallist Dan Purvis gave a group of disabled gymnasts the shock of their lives when he paid a surprise visit to their camp in Aberdeen last weekend.
The youngsters from gymnastics clubs across Scotland had just begun a two-day training camp when Dan arrived to spend the day with them. He is an ambassador for the British Gymnastics Foundation, and his visit was part of the charity’s Inspirational Experiences Programme, which aims to transform lives, by giving members the chance to meet their idols for an experience they will never forget.
The star-struck gymnasts soon got stuck in asking lots of questions, before enjoying a once in a life-time coaching master class from their hero. During the day, Dan shared some top tips, coached all the gymnasts, and he performed some gymnastics which made everyone’s jaws drop.
Dan, who added two further Commonwealth Games medals to his vast collection of honours last April in Gold Coast, said: “When I was a kid I had quite a few gymnastics role models like Alexei Nemov and Kanukai Jackson and I remember watching the Olympics and Manchester Commonwealth Games and being so inspired to dream big. Being at the disability gymnastics training camp, I got such a warm welcome and so many of the gymnasts told me that I inspire them. That really is a great feeling and it fills me with pride to be doing my bit to inspire others in our sport.
“I had fantastic day with the gymnasts. It was great to see them having fun, carefree and happy, whilst demonstrating a high skill level. Gymnastics is a sport which is inclusive, and can be enjoyed by everyone, and it was great for me to be invited to share their day. The volunteers put in so much hard work to make the camp the best possible experience for the gymnasts; and that was great to see and be part of too!”
A young gymnast at the camp told us: “Dan is amazing! I’ve seen him on television before, but I never thought I would ever meet him in real life. He did some really great coaching with me today and it made me so excited to show him my gymnastics skills; I even taught him a dance move! He stayed all day, talked to all of us and gave us good advice for our training. I am never going to forget today- it was brilliant!”
The training camp at City of Aberdeen Gymnastics Club, organised by Lorna Presly, is to help gymnasts increase their potential as they experience multi-discipline gymnastics. Longer term, the aim is to initiate collaboration amongst Scottish clubs, allowing coaches to share experiences in the different disciplines of disability gymnastics.
The coaches, who volunteer over the two days, came from Banchory Gymnastics, Beacon Gymnastics, Beacon Rhythmic Gymnastics, City of Aberdeen Gymnastics, City of Glasgow Gymnastics, Garioch Gymnastics and Irvine Bay Gymnastics.
Lorna said: “The disability gymnastics camp in Aberdeen gives gymnasts, from beginner to competitive levels, a chance to try all the gymnastics disciplines over one weekend. It was great to see everyone joining in together again in TeamGym, acrobatics, rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, watched by the expertise of all the voluntary coaches who, this year, came from as far as Ayrshire and Glasgow, giving up their time for the love of our sport.
“Thank you to the British Gymnastics Foundation for organising Daniel to come along as a special guest. Seeing the excitement on the faces of all the gymnasts was so special. I met Daniel at the British championships over the past few years and have seen the way he interacts with the disability gymnasts: they obviously look up to him, and he in turn shows them the respect they deserve.
"A big thank you to Grampian Disability Sport for their support, to City of Aberdeen Gymnastics for the hire of the hall as well as to Scotmid Co-operative for sponsoring the camp this year and supplying us with t-shirts and merchandise.”
Our thanks to British Gymnastics Foundation for sharing their photos with us, which were taken by Denise DeLaunay.