OLYMPIC medal hopeful Beth Tweddle gave youngsters a masterclass in gymnastics when she opened a new Burnley sports centre.
The three-time world champion was in town to cut the ribbon on the Burnley Enterprise of Sport and Training (BEST) centre at Network 65.
Burnley Gymnastics Club has recently relocated there and it is hoped the centre, which will cater for a number of sports, will help inspire future generations to get involved in sport and maybe even one day represent their country at the Olympics.
That dream looks set to become a reality for seven-time British champion Beth who is now beginning her preparations for London 2012.
And she said it would be facilities like these that would help breed a new crop of Olympic and world champions for future years.
“It’s massive for the community, especially to have a centre that is purpose-built. Having to put the equipment away takes time way from training whereas here they’ll be able to do a lot more training now and work at their own pace.
“I’ve always been lucky because wherever I’ve trained it has always been purpose built so I’ve not had to put up with putting that equipment away and getting it back out.
“I just want every child to have a go at gymnastics. I tried a lot of sports before I found gymnastics and I think that’s what everyone has to do. Not everyone will love gymnastics, some people will hate it, but at least they’ve had a go it and who knows, they might be the star of 2020.”
Beth spoke to youngsters and held a number of training sessions before taking time out to sign autographs and pose for photographs.
She regularly travels the across the UK helping support facilities and projects like this but her focus now will soon start to shift towards the summer as the country gears up for the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I’m starting to compete in two weeks time and then that will be the first stepping stone towards the summer. I’m a bit nervous but obviously it’s an amazing opportunity. Every athlete wants to go to the Olympics but to have it on home soil and so everybody can be there is just an amazing thing.”
Managing director of BEST Darren Wright said: “We have some fantastic plans for this facility. Looking around it now it’s already a first class facility but we have plans to make it even better.
“We want to get more people involved in sports and there has never been a better time, with London 2012, to jump on the bandwagon and get people involved.”
Bookings are now being taken for various sports programmes at the centre. If you would like further information, visit www.thebestcentre.com or follow on facebook or twitter.
Alternatively, feel free to call in or call 455068. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.