Three members of the Special Needs Unit Gymnasts Club (SNUGS) have been invited to train with the GB Disability Display squad in preparation for the World Gymnstraeda 2015 in Helsinki.
Jannette Sharpe, Katherine Marfleet and Teresa Law all have Down’s syndrome. They have been taking part in weekly gymnastics and trampoline training with SNUGS for around 10-12 years.
The SNUGS team of eight gymnasts brought back 34 medals from the Summer Games. Other team members included Jessica Martin, Susannah Meredith, Ealeanore Warde, Molly Romain and Bradley Johnson-Sim.
Following their success at the National Summer Games of the Special Olympics, held at Bath University, the girls were invited to become part of the GB squad.
Club chairman Wendy Marfleet said: “As well as having a learning disability, these three girls have overcome the low muscle tone and hyper-mobile joints that people with Down’s Syndrome have, as well as learning complex routines set to music.
“At the Summer Games each gymnast performed two team routines and four individual ones with apparatus such as ribbon, hoop, ball and rope.
“They attend training every week and although they are not the highest performing gymnasts they were selected because of their dedication to the sport, their calmness when competing and performing, and their ability to remember the routines and their team work.
“Our club is very proud of their achievements. The team could not have taken part without the generous support of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, and the Lions Club of Bletchley.”
The girls were part of the winning Team of the Year award at the recent MK Sport awards.
Head coach Harry Sharpe MBE mentioned that although the girls are part of the National squad there is no central funding for learning disability sport, unlike Paralympic sport, and the club will need to fund raise over £3000 for the girls to attend training in Crewe and to attend the event in Helsinki.
Anyone wishing to try gymnastics and trampolining for anyone with a disability is invited to contact the club on firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website www.snugs.btck.co.uk