Evening Star, Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Wheelers in a spin at taster session

Gym club opens its doors  
HAMSTERS exercising in a spinning wheel - well not quite! But the sport of wheel gymnastics looks remarkably similar.
In a bid to promote the sport, the Torwood Wheelers club - the only one in England that teaches rhoenrads - held a training day and taster session at Rendlesham Sports Centre.
In addition to its own members, the club welcomed two people from Guildford and two 16-year-old girls from Blackpool, one of whom won the training day as a prize in a gymnastic magazine competition.
Member John Colles said: "It was a very successful day and everybody really enjoyed themselves.
"The two girls from Blackpool took to it quite well and were naturals.
"Unfortunatcly we didn't have as many people turn up as we would have liked and the problem we have is getting people interested in the sport.
"The sport is open to anybody aged 16 or over and there is no age limit. Recently we even had a granny in her 70s having a go."
For the training day the club had the help of Maike Both. a German instructor now living in England, who passed on her knowledge and experience, not to mention some spectacular displays of wheel control.
The sport of rhoenrads. or gymnastic wheels as it is often referred to. originated in Germany in the 1920s and is now prac-

tised in many countries, although it is virtually unheard of in England.
Germany and the Netherlands are the biggest participants- but there are also several clubs in Norway and Finland.
John first saw rhoenrads while he was competing in an international gymnastics event back in the 1960s.
"It looked so different and having watched it I really wanted to have a go.
"I then set-up a boys gym club in Ipswich and decided to introduce it
"Getting hold of the specialist wheels was the first major hurdle but I managed to find three wheels after a lot of searching up and down the country."
The club now has seven wheels, which range in size from 1.85m to 2.30m and cost
between £400 and £800.
The Torwood Wheelers meet every Friday night at 8pm at Rendlesham Sports Centre and welcomes new members aged 16 or over.
Anyone interested should contact John Colles on 01394 460233, alternatively send an e-mail to wheels&colles.me.uk or just drop in one Friday.

ROLL WITH IT: Charlotte Ellis in action at the Torwood Wheelers' taster session