Next weekend’s Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics at the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena is already being previewed as one of the top sporting events to be held in the city in recent years.
Glasgow is one of only four cities hosting the newly revamped Federation of International Gymnastics World Cup all-around events. A new spectator-focused format will see the world’s top gymnasts battle it out over two sessions: the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics All-Around Final and the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics All-Around Final on Saturday 16 April.
New European champion in the all-around, Philip Boy (GER), will lead the field at the Kelvin Hall on Saturday. He will face stiff competition from Daniel Purvis (GBR), who took bronze in the all-around at this weekend’s European Championships in Berlin. Purvis also won bronze in the same discipline at the 2010 World Championships. Olympic silver medallist on the high bar and World Championships all-around bronze medallist, Jonathan Horton (USA), is also competing. Eight gymnasts who won medals at the 2011 European Championships will be competing. Six of the competitors have also graced the Olympic Games.
The event has already surpassed expectations with organisers Glasgow Life this week confirming they are building extra seats in the Kelvin Hall to meet demand. Previous Glasgow Grand Prix events have attracted around 1,000 fans with last year’s selling out for the first time. To meet a rising demand for the event the capacity is being increased and as of today around 2,500 tickets have been sold across both sessions, a remarkable 150% increase on last year.
And there is some extra good news for fans attending the World Cup. The golden girl of British Gymnastics, Beth Tweddle, is to make an appearance on the day even though she is not competing. Beth, who doesn’t compete in the all-around events but specialises in the uneven bars and floor, has won three World and five European championships. The reigning World and European champion will be in Glasgow to cheer on her GBR team-mates and will also meet with fans.
The 2009 World and European silver medallist in the all-around event and 2010 European champion on pommel horse, Daniel Keatings, is returning to international competition in Glasgow following nearly almost a year out with a serious knee injury sustained in training last April.
The 21-year-old, who is without doubt the best all-around gymnast Great Britain has produced, said: “I am very excited to be able to take part in the Glasgow World Cup and perform amongst the big guys again. It will be a very strong competition and I hope that I will be able to do a great job. Becoming European champion on the pommel horse in 2010 was my biggest achievement so far, but those silver medals in the all-around of the World Championships in London and the European Championships in Milan, both in 2009, were the best moments of my career.”
The action gets underway next Saturday with the men’s final at 12noon with the women’s final starting at 6pm. Some tickets for both sessions are still available from www.glasgowworldcup.com
but organisers are urging fans to be quick before the event sells out.
As well as being a day of world-class gymnastics the event will also see the sport showcased at a grassroots level. Budding gymnasts will have the chance to take the first steps to emulating the stars of the World Cup in the action-packed ’Fun Zone’ where there will be various come and try activities. A fully qualified team of coaches will be on hand to teach youngsters the moves that are at the heart of gymnastics.
Parents can lead their children around the soft play equipment, while school-age children will be able to try out various pieces of apparatus including the floor, vault and beam. Glasgow Sport coaches will be providing details about their pre-school coaching programmes for youngsters. Clyde 1’s Romeo, one of the most listened to radio presenters in Scotland, will entertain the crowds throughout the day, as organisers look to bring gymnastics to a wider audience.
There will also be displays from the multi-medal winning City of Glasgow Gymnastics Team, who will wow the crowds with their stunning performances. The displays will include performances from members of the Team Scotland at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as medal hopefuls for the Glasgow 2014 Games.
Councillor Archie Graham, Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, said: “This will be one of the biggest sporting events to ever be held in the city and will see the world’s top male and female gymnasts go head to head at the Kelvin Hall.
“Many of those competing at the Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics event will also be going for gold at the London 2012 Olympics – confirming Glasgow’s position as one of the world’s leading sporting cities. This reputation will of course be further enhanced when we host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor George Redmond, said: “The Kelvin Hall has witnessed some genuinely world-class sporting battles over the years but new Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics events will take that to a new level. The event has created a real buzz as can be seen by the numbers who have already bought tickets. We are looking forward to what will be a truly genuine world-class competition and of course to giving the gymnasts and their coaches a warm welcome to Glasgow.”
Glasgow Life is staging the events on behalf of Glasgow City Council with funding from EventScotland and UK Sport’s World Class Events programme supported by the National Lottery. Tickets for the Saturday 16 April 2011 competition at the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena start at just £3 for children, £10 for adults and £25 for families (2 adults and 3 children) and are available from www.glasgowworldcup.com
or by telephoning 0141 353 8000.
EventScotland Chief Operating Officer, Paul Bush OBE, said: “We are expecting a sell-out next weekend, which demonstrates Scotland’s appetite for world-class sporting events on home soil. In the year of Active Scotland we have a wonderful opportunity to showcase as the perfect stage for events and also encourage people to get more involved in sport.”
Esther Nicholls, Major Events Consultant for UK Sport, said: “UK Sport is committed to bringing world class sporting events to the UK ahead of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, and this event is part of what we believe to be the most comprehensive pre-Games events programme ever staged by a host nation.
"The Glasgow World Cup will provide an invaluable opportunity for British gymnasts to experience international competition on home soil, to prepare them for their home Games, as well as a chance to build on the event staging capabilities of the sport in order to attract further world class events to the UK in the future.”