Internationals will boost Olympic aims

IPSWICH'S Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre's chances of being selected as a training venue for the London 2012 Olympics will be boosted next month when they play host to two major internationals.

IPSWICH'S Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre's chances of being selected as a training venue for the London 2012 Olympics will be boosted next month when they play host to two major internationals.

On Saturday August 4, Great Britain, Holland and Switzerland will be at the Braziers Wood Road-based centre for a three-way senior men's international, which will also be shown live on Sky Sports.

Then, on Saturday August 18, two Great Britain sides will compete against Brazil in a senior women's international.

Brazil, the world's fifth-ranked country, will bring a host of top gymnasts to town, while competing for Great Britain will be 2004 Olympian and world champion Beth Tweddle.


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Having already been short listed as one of the country's top three gymnastic venues by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), Pipers Vale head coach Andy Wood is hopeful that one of the world's top gymnastics nations will use Ipswich as their base in 2012.

He said: “The more international sides that use our facilities, the more chance we have of bringing the big international teams here in 2012.”

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In 2004, Pipers Vale hosted Algeria and Romania on two separate occasions before facilities were upgraded in 2005. Last year Denmark visited the venue.

Wood said: “I would like to see the Italians come to Ipswich in 2012. I think the Italian women's team have got a good chance of becoming Olympic champions and that would give us a really high profile.

“There could be a chance of Great Britain training here, but I think it will be more likely that they will train at Heathrow.

“I think international teams come here expecting the worst and, in their words, they end up pleasantly surprised.

“Unfortunately now people relate Ipswich to the killings and not having a sporting background, but when these international gymnasts see our facilities they are completely wowed.

“I am really keen for Pipers Vale to help put Ipswich not only on the gymnastics map, but on the sporting map in general.”

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