Shane & Alex head to the World Games

Norfolk gymnast Shane Baxter and Suffolk Coach Alex Row are preparing to take on the rest of the world at the Special Olympics World Summer Games next month.

Held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Games will feature 24 different sports, competed for by more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from all over the world.

Special Olympics is a global organisation that provides year-round sports training and competition to over five million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in over 170 countries.

Shane, 19, who lives in Norwich, competes in all six disciplines for male gymnasts: parallel bars, vault, high bar, pommel, rings and floor. He won the overall gold medal for his level at the Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield in 2017 where, along with other Norfolk Special Olympics athletes, he represented the Eastern Region. 

Being selected to represent Great Britain at the Games is a dream come true for Shane. He says: "I am so proud to be representing Great Britain. I can't wait for the Opening Ceremony on 14 March. The atmosphere and meeting athletes from all over the world is going to be brilliant. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me and will do my best to bring home some medals for them!"

Shane began gymnastics six years ago with Long Stratton Gymnastics Club. He currently trains three times a week with Waveney Gymnastics Club in Lowestoft, as well as attending squad training in Sheffield and Glasgow. Alex Row, his coach at Waveney, will be one of the coaches accompanying the GB team and has been supporting Shane along his gymnastics journey. Alex says’ this is a great opportunity as a coach to help support Shane and other athletes in more than just a club setting, I am looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life and allowing these athletes to achieve their dreams ‘

The Special Olympics movement is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the third member of the Olympic family but, unlike Paralympics which is for elite sportspeople with disabilities, Special Olympics is for all abilities and all ages. Just like the Olympics, World Games are held every four years.

It was founded 50 years ago in America by Eunice Kennedy, sister of JFK. They had a sister with learning disabilities and Eunice saw sport as a great way to unite people from all walks of life.  She set up Special Olympics to give people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience friendship and the spirit of fair competition.

The work of Special Olympics is currently 100% funded by individual, trust and corporate donations so your support is crucial enabling us to transform the lives of more than 1.5m children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Norfolk and Special Olympics Suffolk have been working hard to send the pair to the World Games.  If you'd like to help support Alex and Shane, you can do so at

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB) provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of skills, gifts and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community..

Through around 150 accredited programmes in England, Scotland and Wales, we provide coaching and competition opportunities in 28 sports. These programmes are run by over 4,000 volunteers, who support thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities to take part in our sport programme.

SOGB transforms lives through sport, providing opportunities, make lasting friendships and develop new skills. Everyone can get involved with SOGB as an athlete, parent or volunteer. Special Olympics Great Britain 2019 World Summer Games consists of 128 athletes and 52 volunteers competing across 17 sports. For more information visit

For further information, please contact: Nicola Fish, Chairman of Special Olympics Norfolk, or Ellen Hutchings, Head of Inclusive Gymnastics at Waveney Gymnastics Club,




Over the weekend competition of the Poole Open Championships for gymnasts with a disability, the Waveney Gymnastics Club were represented by fourteen different youngsters in a variety of categories, identified by their particular special needs. The whole competition is one of the biggest and most prestigious in the country with gymnasts from across the United Kingdom taking part. The organisation to get the gymnasts to the event, confident in their routines, accommodation booked is a major task and the parents, families and coaches involved with this weekend are to be congratulated on the success that occurred as a result of their combined efforts. The competition involves participation in gymnastics and for some gymnasts also trampoline routines.


In the competition there are medals awarded for the individual apparatus places for the top three and overall medals for the final total positions of the top three. The gymnastics competitions were as follows:-


Level B, Under 9 year old girls:- Madeline Reeder on Floor 17.20 (2nd); Vault 17.50 (2nd). The winner of two silver medals.


Level 1, Under 9 year old girls:- Hollie Williams on Floor 16.90 (4th); Vault 18.20 (3rd); Beam 16.35 (4th). Winner of the bronze medal on vault.


Level 1, Under 12 year old girls:- Sophie Anderson-Field on Floor 16.60 (4th); Vault 18.90 (4th); Beam 15.80 (3rd). A bronze medal on beam.

Aya Bendaoud on Floor 17.35 (1st); Vault 19.00 (2nd); Beam 18.20 (1st). Two gold and a silver medal for Aya on the day.


Level 2, Under 9 year old girls:- Poppy Weddle on Floor 15.80 (1st); Vault 19.00 (1st); Beam 17.40 (1st). Poppy finished with three gold medals.


Level 2, Under 16 year old girls:- Chloe Jacobs on Floor 17.10 (2nd); Vault 19.20 (1st); Beam 18.45 (2nd). So two silver and one gold medal for Chloe.

Megan Hobson on Floor 18.70 (1st); Vault 18.80 (2nd); Beam 19.00 (1st). giving Megan two gold medals and a silver for her three pieces of apparatus.


Level B, Under 9 year old boys:- Ashton Swallows on Floor 18.40 (1st); Vault 18.80 (1st). Ashton picked up two gold medals.

Harry Beaumont-Smith on Floor 17.65 (3rd); Vault 18.60 (2nd). So a silver and bronze medal for Harry.


Level B, Under 12 year old boys:- Simon Booth on Floor 19.15 (1st); Vault 18.90 (1st). Simon therefore was awarded two gold medals for his competition.


Level B, Under 16 year old boys:- Alastair Belousov on Floor 14.55 (2nd); Vault 18.70 (2nd). Two well deserved silver medals for Alastair.


Level B, Under 21 year old boys:- Jack Witheridge on Floor 18.90 (1st); Vault 19.70 (1st). Jack won two gold medals for his competition. This is a real achievement for Jack who has been a committed member of the club for over ten years.


Level 1, Under 12 year old boys:- Lincoln Wilson on Floor 18.90 (1st); Vault 19.40 (1st); Parallel Bars 17.40 (2nd). Two gold and a silver medal for Lincoln on the day.


At the end of the gymnastics competitions the award for the disability gymnast of the year was made to each of the two outstanding individuals from the girls and boys sections. Megan Hobson was awarded the trophy for female disability gymnast of the year. Well done to Megan and all those who took part for such an outstanding set of results.


In the trampoline competition, which is either a 6, 8 or 10 bounce routine dependent upon the ability of the individual competitors we had thirteen taking part and their results were as follows. Again anybody in first, second or third place would have won gold, silver or bronze medals respectively.


In the 6 bounce routines the results finished:-

Under 9 girls:- Poppy Weddle 7.50 (4th); Madeline Reeder &.70 (3rd).

Under 12 girls:- Sophie Anderson- Field 8.50 (4th); Aya Bendaoud 7.40 (8th).

Under 9 boys:- Ashton Swallows 7.50 (2nd); Harry Beaumont-Smith 6.50 (3rd).

Under 12 boys:- Simon Booth 7.60 (3rd); Lincoln Wilson 7.80 (1st).

Under 16 boys:- Alastair Belousov 6,40 (4th).

Under 21 boys:- Jack Witheridge 6.90 (4th).


In the 10 bounce routines the results finished:-

Under 16 girls;- Chloe Jacobs 8.37 (2nd); Megan Hobson 8.64 (1st).

Under 16 boys:- Jack Jacobs 8.40 (1st).


At the completion of the competition the Waveney Gymnastics Club had a won a lot of medals with all the competitors doing extremely well over the weekend and the club coaches who have worked with them being delighted with them all. A huge recognition goes to Ellen Hutchings, the senior coach for disability gymnastics at the club and her team of staff who have helped prepare and accompany the gymnasts throughout the year, which includes. Holly Durbridge, Pam Laws, Callum Bell, Caitlin Dyer, Rebecca Lewis and Sandra Crowe.


The success of these youngsters within the sport of gymnastics is helping them make major improvements both physically and in their self esteem, which is a credit to the team involved and the support of their families. If any businesses or individuals would like to sponsor or support the club in its development to make greater progress with these youngsters and other members of the club, contact the club on 01502 501419 or email the club at


Report by J. Pawsey (Chairman) 23/10/2018

Gymnasts do well in Eastern Counties competition.

In the Eastern Counties Voluntary Gymnastics Competition held on 24th September the Waveney Gymnastics Club was represented by two girls in this qualifying event to be part of the team to take part in the national finals later in the year.

In the level 3 age group for in age gymnasts Paris Whiting scored 11.550 on vault, 9.200 on asymmetric bars, 7.600 0n beam and 10.40 on floor to give hera total of 38.750 and placed overall in fifth (5). This was a performance which means she is reserve for the team, but it could have been so much better had she not had two falls in the beam exercise. However the experience for such a young gymnast will be valuable for her competitions in the future.

In the Challenge Senior Competition for gymnasts over the age of eighteen Caitlin Dyer scored 10.700 on vault, 9.150 on asymmetric bars, 10.550 on beam and 11.450 on floor, giving her an overall total of 41.850 and third place in this age group. Both girls are coached by Alex Row, the club's head coach and assisted by Kathy Norgate. Several other young female gymnasts are beginning to come through the club and the future looks encouraging.

Six Gymnasts selected for regional boys team to compete in the National Finals.

On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September the Regional Set work Competition for 2017 was held at in Ipswich, where young gymnasts from across the east region were competing for places in the different age group teams to go to the National Finals in November. Following the competition those chosen to represent the region will met regularly to polish up and improve their routines for the big competition. There are two paths leading to the finals; one for elite grades and one for club grades. It is possible to move from one path to the other as gymnasts develop during their gymnastic careers, but he routes chosen for each gymnast is based upon the judgement of the coaches, who prepare the gymnasts for these very competitive events. Each of the competitors is required to perform the specific set routine for their age group on floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar and a physical preparation routine, which includes flexibility, balance and strength moves. 

In the elite grade 1 competition for boys aged 8/9 Waveney was represented by TJ Carpenter who scored a total of 61.45 to be overall fifth (5). With three scores over 9.0 on pommel horse 9.50, vault 9.75 and parallel bars 9.0 he successfully made the team.

At club grade pre-level 1 for boys aged 7/8 Noah Scott scored a total of 60.15 to finish second (2). He managed three scores over the magic 9.0 with pommel 9.15, vault 9.65 and PPP 9.0, which promises well for the future as he is too young to go to national finals this year.

At club grade level 1 for boys aged 8/9 Aston Charlton scored a total of 60.75 to be place in the silver medal position (2nd). He scored four marks above 9.0 with floor 9.20, pommel 9.40, vault 9.30 and PPP 9.60, so selected for the team in this age group. 

At club grade level 2 the club was represented by Oliver Wiley and his total of 64.90 overall meant he was the winner of this age group and gold medallist. With five scores above 9.0 it was an excellent performance of consistency. Floor 9.40, pommel 9.70, rings 9.40, vault 9.80 and PPP 9.40, so comfortably making the team.

At club grade 3 Sonny Warboys scored a total of 60.55 with three scores above 9.00, which included 9.05 on floor, 9.30 on pommel and 9.55 on vault. He was placed in overall sixth (6). Two places behind was Murphy Keeler-Reynolds with a total score of 58.90, which included floor 9.05 and vault 9.35. both boys just missed out on making the team.

In club grade level 4 Harley Hawes scored a total of 63 80 to finish in fourth place (4), which included 9.40 on floor, 9.0 on pommel horse, 9.05 on rings, 9.15 on vault and 9.60 on PPP. In fifth place was Brodie Davis with a total of 63.15, including floor 9.50, pommel 9.40, rings 9.20, vault 9.50 and parallel bars 9.50. both boys made the team selection.

At club grade 5 Gregor Belousov scored a total of 63.50 to finis in fourth (4) place overall, which included four scores above 9.00 from rings 9.55, vault 9.60, parallel bars 9.00 and high bar 9.15, but also making the team.

The coaching of Ashleigh Moore and Declan Ayers has been outstanding in preparing these boys for such a busy period of competitions recently, which has been reflected in the consistent level of performances produced by so many of the gymnast from the club. At this competition the club entered nine gymnasts and six were selected for the different age groups to go to the National Finals where we hope they will return with similar results, but this will involve gymnasts from across the whole of the country, although the east is a strong region. Well done to all those gymnasts, coaches and parents who have supported their youngsters in the sport.

London Open

On the boys artistic gymnastics front, the club sent young gymnasts to the London Open event, which is one of the most prestigious competitions in the calendar for men's gymnastics and can be used as a measure against the top gymnasts from across the country, as well as a guide to selection for future national squads. These boys are coached by Ashleigh Moore, the club's senior coach for boys and Declan Ayers, one of our excellent developing coaches, who works alongside Ashleigh. This London Competition took place over the weekend of 9th and 10th September at the Redbridge Sports Centre.

In the two days of competition the gymnasts were representative of the whole of the Great Britain. The gymnasts came from as far as Scotland, Wales, Devon, Newcastle, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Uttoxeter, Wrexham, Rugby, West Lothian, Bristol, Swansea and all counties in England, so a huge event.

In the level 1Elite competition for gymnasts under 8 years of age Waveney had three entries, Rory Spurgeon, Carlton Townson and Oakley-Jai Eaton. All these boys were taking part in this competition for the first time. All three finished in the top ten places overall, which is an achievement in itself. Oakley scored a total of 44.201 to be placed 8th and this included a top ten finish on Floor 8.567 (1st) and gold medal, Rings with 8.100 (8th), Parallel Bars 8.000 (9th), Pommel Horse 5.700 (9th and Vault 9.667 (5th): Carlton scored a total of 46.402 to be overall 6th which included Floor 7.967 (4th), Rings 8.734 (6th), Pommel 7.667 (6th), Vault 9.967 (2nd) and silver medal: Rory scored a total of 51.602 to be placed overall 3rd and winner of the bronze medal, which included Rings 9.434 (2nd) silver medal, Pommel 9.100 (2nd0 silver medal, Vault 9.834 (4th), Parallel Bars 9.134 (4th) and High Bar 8.900 (5th). 

In the level 1Club competition for under 8 year olds Noah Scott scored a total of 49.234 to be placed overall 9th out of forty (40) gymnasts. This included a top ten finish on three of the six pieces of apparatus, Floor 9.134 (2nd) silver medal, Rings 7.800 (5th) and High Bar 7.400 (6th).

In the level 1 Elite for boys aged 9 the club was represented by TJ Carpenter who scored a total of 47.784 to be placed overall 27th in a competition with forty five (45) gymnasts taking part.

In the level 1 Club competition for nine year old boys the club had both Aston Charlton and Logan Cope taking part. Ashton scored a total of 49.617 to be placed19th overall and Logan scored a total of 45.667 in 29th place. This competition had an entry of forty one (41) gymnasts.

In the level 2 Club competition Waveney was represented by Oliver Willey in an event involving fifty five (55) gymnasts. He scored an impressive 55.902 to finish in overall 2nd place and winner of the silver medal. Oliver also managed to be placed in the top ten places on four out of the six pieces of apparatus with Rings 9.267 (5th), Pommel Horse 9.267 (10th), Parallel Bars 9.300 (2nd) silver medal, High Bar 9.300 (2nd) silver medal.

In the level3 Club competition again the number of gymnasts was over fifty at fifty three (53). Here we were represented by Sonny Warboys and Murphy Keeler-Reynolds. Sonny scored a total of 46.384 to be placed 39th and Murphy scored 45.068 to be placed 43rd.

In the level 4 Club competition the entries were thirty nine (39) gymnast and Brodie Davis and Harley Hawes both performed well throughout the competition. Brodie scored a total of 54.235 to be placed overall 8th, which included a top ten finish on three pieces of apparatus, Floor 8.834 (8th), Pommel Horse 9.600 (2nd) silver medal, Parallel Bars 9/400 (5th); Harley scored a total of 49.369 to finish in 22nd place.

In the Whitlock under fourteen competition there was a field of thirty one (31) gymnasts and Waveney was represented by Gregor Belousov who scored a total of 68.200 to be placed overall 4th, a really good achievement. Gregor had an excellent all round competition making the top ten places on five individual pieces of apparatus. On Floor 11.600 (10th), Pommel Horse 11.250 (4th), Rings 10.600 (10th), Vault 11.800 (8th) Parallel Bars 12.650 (1st) gold medal.

At the end of this major competition the club managed to win a total of eleven medals, which is a great success and is most encouraging for the future of the sport at the club. Much of the success of the boys section has been down to the quality of coaching by the coaching team under the Head Coach Alex Row. The work of Ashleigh Moore has been outstanding in his last two years at the club, but we wish him well as he takes up a post in Australia from the end of September, where he will have the opportunity to broaden his knowledge of gymnastics and perhaps return to the club to help continue to produce the gymnasts for the future. We wish him well and thank him for his excellent contributions and development of the men's coaching staff at Waveney Gymnastics Club.

Article and images submitted to the Lowestoft Journal.