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Waveney gymnasts return triumphant with hoard of medals from Special Olympic Games

PUBLISHED: 16:05 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:06 16 August 2017

The Eastern Region Special Olympics gymnastics team with their medals. Picture: Courtesy of Waveney Gymnastics Club.

The Eastern Region Special Olympics gymnastics team with their medals. Picture: Courtesy of Waveney Gymnastics Club.

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Young gymnasts have proudly returned home with more than 60 medals after competing in the Special Olympics GB National Games.

The Eastern Region Special Olympics gymnastics team. Picture: Courtesy of Waveney Gymnastics Club. The Eastern Region Special Olympics gymnastics team. Picture: Courtesy of Waveney Gymnastics Club.

The group of 11 from Waveney Gymnastics Club have been training for months for the Sheffield event, which is the country’s largest multi-sports games for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The team, aged eight to 19, were representing the eastern region, joined by two members of the Long Stratton Gymnastics Club.

They performed in floor, vault, bar, beam, high bar, rings and pommel horse, and achieved 26 gold, 17 silver and 18 bronze medals, with each gymnast coming home with medals.

The Waveney gymnasts competing were Ben O’Keefe, Grace Beales, Jack Witheridge, Jack Jacobs, Rudi Chaplin, Jason Blyth, Simon Booth, Josh Lewis, Emily Buck, Jordan Jackson and Finley Barnes.

Eleven-year-old Rudi from Beccles, picked up two golds, two silvers, two bronze and a fourth place ribbon.

His mum Keeley Chaplin said: “He was over the moon with his medals. His face was beaming when they called him up and he couldn’t wait to tell everyone.”

And Jordan, 18, also from Beccles, walked away with three gold medals, two silver and one bronze.

His mum Julie Jackson said: “Jordan found the whole event amazing. The atmosphere was brilliant and they all coped with it really well.”

Jordan received sponsorship from Broadwater Mouldings in Beccles, where his dad works, to help cover the cost of taking part.

The event attracted around 2,600 athletes from across England, Scotland and Wales in a variety of sports.

The group attended the opening ceremony at Sheffield United’s football stadium on August 8, with the competition held over August 10 and 11.

Ellen Hutchings, lead disability coach at Waveney Gymnastics Club, said: “Through participation in this large national competition, it gave our athletes the confidence, social and life skills that helps their inclusion in society.

“Everyone is extremely proud of what they have achieved and how well they coped at such a large scale camp and competition. A huge thank you must go to all individuals and local businesses who supported and sponsored the athletes and volunteers to attend the games.”

She also thanked the coaches, volunteers and parents for their support.

To find out more about the club or to help with sponsorship, call Ellen on 01502 501419 or ellen@waveneygymnastics.org

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