AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL KING EDDIES MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS

DEAR Member and Supporter,

Over the past three decades or so we have become used to celebrating the achievements of our gymnasts, whether it’s the two-year-old tot beaming with delight after perfecting a particular routine for the first time, or the wide-eyed seven-year-old proudly displaying a maiden medal following several previous attempts to secure a place on the podium.

Our coaches and mentors take as much pride and satisfaction in these success stories as the children do, but it’s fair to say that none of us have encountered a few months quite like these recent ones which, we’re thrilled to say, has led to gold dust descending on our brand-new home.

What has become evident to everyone connected with King Edmund Gym Club is that nothing can stop the full force of a determined and focused approach to a sporting goal, or any worthy target in life for that matter.

While the accomplishments have continued unabated on the gym floors, both domestically and internationally, we behind the scenes have been striving tirelessly to bring to the region an acrobatic gymnastics complex the entire community can be proud of. It has been a long, hard road at times, as we’ve fought through endless red tape, trials and tribulations, setbacks and sleepless nights to land the lease that finally ensures our future is in safe hands at Yate International Gymnastics Centre.

SMILING SUPPORTERS

When thousands of smiling supporters and gymnasts came through the doors to witness our spring displays and international encounters, we knew it had all been worth it. What none of us dared dream too hard about, although we always suspected they stood a great chance, was that while the din of hammers and drills were all about us as the exciting renovation work progressed in the new hall, two of our girls would be taking the world of top-notch acrobatic gymnastics by storm.

Danielle Jones and Shanie-Redd Thorne had already enjoyed a sparkling year approaching the World Games in Columbia, having pocketed silver and bronze medals at two prestigious World Cup tournaments in Portugal and Bulgaria respectively.

As British senior champions armed with bronze medals too courtesy of their endeavours at last year’s World Age Group Championships in Florida, the girls stepped into the intimidating big time for the recent Cali showpiece in the north west of South America full of hope and expectation.

Not only did they attain a gold medal, they displayed considerable courage and steel to overcome some serious stumbling blocks en route to the title, displaying attributes of sheer guts and determination that exemplified King Eddies’ long-standing philosophy in striving for success in a proper and dignified way.

These are qualities that set apart the nearly-guys from the true champions. As many of you will know by now, we faced quite an ordeal as the build-up to competition in Columbia intensified. The air conditioning in the competition confines was causing havoc with temperatures and producing unacceptable wind currents. The International Gymnastics Federation weren’t impressed and threatened to pull the plug on the entire gymnastics spectacle. There were tears and anxious, bewildered expressions as feelings ran high all around us. It slowly dawned on participants from so many competing countries, both on the rhythmic and acrobatic side of the gymnastics fraternity, that months, years, of gruelling training were disappearing down the tube at the moment of truth.

FRANTIC TALKS

The ribbon event was scrapped altogether, to the dismay of all concerned there, but mercifully two days of frantic talks between British Gymnastics and the FIG, not least over insurance matters, led to the desired outcome, albeit with hours to spare before competition commenced.

Our girls’ own mental preparations had taken a severe jolt and they could have been forgiven if their nerves were already in shreds. For all their talent, these were two ordinary 14 and 16-year-olds faced with a savage out-of-the-blue blow. If that wasn’t enough for the pair to contend with, they then experienced a rare fall in their opening balance routine and squeezed through to the final by the skin of their teeth thanks to a much more successful and winning performance in the dynamics discipline.

Nothing was going to stop them now and the rest, as they say, is history.

It is our belief that we have an acrogymnastics headquarters well on the way to becoming the Best in Britain, a view already shared by reputable judges and rival clubs who are watching what is taking place in Yate at this time with some envy.

Now we’re all set up for the next generation of future champions and who knows, maybe Olympic contenders when the sport is finally accepted into its domain where it surely deserves to be?

In the meantime the Olympics’ respected equivalent – the World Games, which is backed by the IOC – presents the ultimate prize for our would-be stars. In Columbia we rubbed shoulders with 120 countries, represented by some 4,000 elite athletes competing in 32 popular sports, including squash, waterskiing, rugby and karate. It was big-time stuff.

Of course we already had a World Games medallist – Shanie-Redd’s older sister Maiken a bronze recipient with Mollie Grehan courtesy of their terrific Taiwan 2009 exertions.

Everything is in place now to build on these and our many other accomplishments, and September 9th 2013 promises to be another red-letter day as our new facility at Yate Leisure Centre is officially unveiled.

SPECIAL NEEDS

Already we’ve increased activities to cater for youngsters with special needs, budding cheerleaders and intrepid have-a-go parents!

As always much of the emphasis is on having fun while developing in carefully-controlled conditions, thanks to the dedication and support of our enthusiastic team of qualified staff and coaches. And we have so much to be thankful for to the likes of Yate International Academy for affording our elite gymnasts valuable training time, while still enabling them scope to catch-up on their education ‘out of hours’.

Just as importantly, through this fabulous new facility of ours at the leisure centre, we have the platform to help make more dreams come true. The road can be a long and tortuous one but it can be oh so rewarding! Just ask our golden girls, Danielle and Shanie-Redd, and our many other happy medallists, next time you see them