Pinches & Whelan visit Rathgael Gym Club, Northern Ireland

First Minister at Rathgael Gymnastics and Tumbling Club

Last weekend Team GB gymnasts Jenni Pinches and Hannah Whelan made a trip across the water to visit Rathgael Gymnastics Club. Read more in the Rathgael Press Release below:


 Two leading gymnasts from the British Gymnastics squad have visited Northern Irelandto encourage support in the run in to London 2012.


Hannah Whelan and Jennifer Pinches, who recently returned from the gymnastics World Championship inTokyo, spent the weekend as guests ofBangorbased Rathgael Gymnastics and Tumbling Club and witnessed at first hand all that happens at the current NI Club of the Year.


The visit, supported by Sport NI focussed on the promotion of the British Gymnastics campaign, ‘I AM BG’, which seeks to connect the gymnastics community in celebration ahead of London 2012.


DUP leader and First Minister, Rt Hon. Peter Robinson MLA, along with Junior Minister Jonathan Bell MLA were present to lend their support to the campaign, to congratulate the girls on their recent success at the world championships inTokyoand to here future plans for the Rathgael club.


Summing up the weekend British Champion Hannah Whelan said: “It has been fantastic to come to Rathgael and see such a brilliantly run club with such enthusiasm for the sport. We really appreciate all the support we get from the gymnastics fans all overBritainand coming to clubs like this certainly give us a big boost that encourages us to work even harder to achieve the best results we can in 2012.”


Jennifer Pinches added: “I’ve had a brilliant time at Rathgael! It’s been really inspiring to meet so many committed and talented young gymnasts, the club is fantastically well run and you can tell that everyone loves coming here and is really enjoying their gymnastics which is great.”


Andy McDowell, club chairman commented: “To have not one but two world class gymnasts here for a weekend has been a massive boost for the club and will leave a long lasting legacy with our members. We are very proud as a club to be associated with the promotion of British Gymnastics and the girls and their fellow squad members can be assured that they will have the full support of everyone at the club in the run in to and during London 2012. I would also wish to record our sincere thanks to the First Minister for taking the time to visit the club and listen to our future proposals and to Sport NI for their much appreciated support.”

 The weekends visit was filmed by British Gymnastics TV and the final version will be uploaded for broadcast on the British Gymnastics website,

 The Rathgael club, presently the NI Club of the Year was the first club in Northern Ireland to achieve the British Gymnastics ClubMark accreditation. Further information on the club can be found at


L – R: Jennifer Pinches, Hannah Whelan, Rathgael member Alex Garrett, Club Manager Arlene Hunsdale,  DUP Leader & First Minister Peter Robinson MLA, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell MLA. Image via Mairi Rivers Photography 



Thanks for the information Peter and especially for the invitation to Rathgael at the weekend, if only training and judging exams hadn’t gotten in the way!

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