WHEEL MEET AGAIN: The Rendlesham-based Torwood Wheelers demonstrate the sport of Rhoenrads. It's a high energy sport
that's sadly low on competition.
AS the eyes of every nation are firmly focused on Germany for the World Cup, a group of Suffolk pioneers are busy turning. their hands, heads and feet to a sport with a teutonic twist.

Rhoenrads.s, or wheel aerobics, was first created by a German prisoner called Otto Feick who was attempting to recreate his childhood memory of rolling down a hill in a barrel.
After his release he patented the wheel, and gradually the sport became more popular, with the first German Championships taking place in 1960, and the first European Championships in Switzerland in 1992.
However, the sport never caught on in the UK and is virtually unknown, with just one club offering the chance to take part in the sport, the Rendelsham-based Torwood Wheelers.
Rhoenrads involves standing and spinning inside a giant wheel, and there are many moves that can be done, with the sport described

By Georqina Roqerson

As exhilarating, gymnastic and ballistic.
The wheels range in size from 1.85m to 2.30m and cost between £400 and £800, but due to the minority of people taking part in wheel aerobics, the Torwood Wheelers' teacher, John Colles, found it very difficult to find and purchase the wheels needed to get the club started.
Mr Colles said: "Getting hold of the specialist wheels was the first major hurdle, but I managed to find three after a lot of searching up and down the country"
The club now has seven wheels, aided by a National Lottery grant of £2,618 in October 2000, which allowed them to purchase four more wheels, specially made in Germany, in prder to cater for the wide height range of their members.
The club would be on a roll, but

for one problem... they have no-one to compete against in Britain.
"As we are the only Rhoenrnd club in the UK, competition is pretty difficult," said Colles. "Our nearest competitors would be in The Netherlands, Germany or Norway, but they have been doing it for a lot longer than we have. It is extremely difficult to reach competition standard when we are so isolated, so at the moment we just do it for fun."
However, despite the lack of competition available, the sport does offer several physical benefits.
"Physically the sport benefits every part of the body, all the muscles come into play, as gravity pulls the body in every direction during a roll in the wheel, said Colles. "It is also excellent training for spatial awareness and control, as a performer not only has to control then- own position, but also that of the wheel."
However, it iss not the physical aspect to Rhoenrads that Colles
sees as main benefit of the sport, but the enjoyment it provides.
"Last weekend, 11 members of our club spent many hours giving demonstrations and helping children and adults to use the wheels at the Green Living Family Day held in Ipswich. As we were packing up on Sunday one of our newest members said, 'I don't want to go to school tomorrow, I want to do another day like this'. The sport is fun, and perhaps that is the biggest benefit of all"
The Torwood Wheelers welcome all those over 16 interested in trying wheel aerobics, and also those who would like to watch. They meet every Friday evening from 7.30pm to 9 pm at Rendlesham Sports Centre, and it costs £3.50 per session.
If you need any further information they also have a website, on which you can access contact details and directions to their location. The website address is; http://www.outabout.co.uk/tor-wood-wheelers/index.html.