Search

Crayford’s Europa gym looks forward to inspiring Olympic stars

19:24 06 March 2012

Boris Johnson and Hugh Robertson open Europa Gym

Boris Johnson and Hugh Robertson open Europa Gym

Archant

A state of the art gym in Crayford has been given the ministerial seal of approval – in time to host international Olympic volleyball champions and the hundreds of children and adults who train in gymnastics there every week.

Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson and London Mayor Boris Johnson joined the opening ceremony at the Europa Gym’s new building at Maiden Lane in Crayford.

The gym is a testament to the tenacity of coaches Len and his wife, the former Olympic gymnast Yvonne Arnold who competed in the Munich games.

The couple sold their home and are still living in the Europa gym’s other premises – a Victorian warehouse where club members muck in to do the cleaning.

The couple were determined to keep the gym going after it faced an uncertain future two years.

Mr Arnold said: “We have got a wonderful facility and the youngsters won’t have to go through what Yvonne and I did, selling our house to keep it going.”

With the backing of Bexley council the couple secured £1.24 million Lottery funding and a further £1.3 million from the Olympic Delivery Authority and £200,000 from the London mayor’s sports legacy facility fund. The new gym is gearing up to host international athletes who will use it as a base to perfect their volleyball in the run up to the Olympics.

Mr Robertson said he was very impressed by what he saw and the impact it will have on the all important games legacy to encourage people to get into sport.

He said: “If there is anybody in Bexley who is cynical about London 2012 they should get down here and put their head round the door and see people involved in sport here and soak up the atmosphere and see what it’s all about.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a plaque at the new gym. He said: “It brings a tear to my eye.”

And he praised the dedication to sport shown by the young athletes demonstrating their sport at the gym.

“Never underestimate the power of sport to change people’s lives, to give them boundaries, to teach them about life, and discipline. It plays a serious role in teaching about how to live.”

Olympic hopeful weight lifter Zoe Smith, who lived in Abbey wood showed the guests around the gym where youngsters were demonstrating boxing, gymnastics and karate.

She trains at the Europa’s old gym in Fraser Road and said: “We’ve never had anything like this before, it’s amazing. It will be great to gets lots of kids involved in one of the sports that happens here.”

Gymnast Sophie Brundish , 18, has competed for England and is also involved in coaching children at the Europa gym.

She said: “It was cramped at the other building. This place is so open and it’s got a lot on offer.”

0 comments

Latest News

29 minutes ago
Police sirens

Motorists have been warned to approach with caution

Yesterday, 15:02
Dr Paul Hobday has called for the CEO of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to resign

A prominent medic has called on NHS managers to stand up to the government

Yesterday, 12:20
Crews handed over the casualty to the care of police

The person was handed into the care of police

Yesterday, 10:54
South Portal Lower Thames Crossing

The joint venture’s role will include environmental surveys, traffic modelling, economic analysis, planning and design of the preferred route

Yesterday, 09:43
Director Andrea Arnold (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

Jury Prize success for her lastest movie, American Honey

Most read

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Gravesend Reporter e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder