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Wednesday 21 October 2015

Two Glasgow schoolgirls got the chance of a lifetime today when they met USA gymnastics superstar Simone Biles and her teammates at The SSE Hydro, where nearly 600 of the world’s best gymnasts are making final preparations for the World Championships which start in the city on Friday.

Sophie Campbell, St Bridget’s Primary and Lara Storrie from Kelvindale Primary School, who are schools competition winners, got the surprise call-up to watch the USA women’s training session and a chance to have their photo taken with the gymnasts.

Schools across the country and further afield have been getting involved and engaging with the Championships, thanks to an innovative schools resource pack developed by Glasgow Life in conjunction with education professionals.

Launched by 2015 World Gymnastics Ambassador, Beth Tweddle MBE back in April, the resource pack is proving a resounding success and has been downloaded more than 3000 times by schools in Glasgow, across Scotland and internationally as far away as Australia.

The primary pack has a specific focus on how gymnastics is linked to curriculum areas including literacy, maths and numeracy, health and wellbeing, expressive arts and social subjects.

Within the school pack were two competitions where pupils could either design a gymnastics kit as part of the Expressive Arts section, or write questions to interview a gymnast as part of the Literacy section.

From amongst 500 entries, Sophie Campbell was selected as the winner of the Expressive Arts competition for her fantastic leotard design for Team USA. The original creation had lots of stars and plenty of shine, perfect for any gymnast!

Selected as the winner of the Literacy Competition was Lara Storrie who wrote a set of brilliant interview questions to put to reigning World Champion Simon Biles, who is tipped for further success in Glasgow this month.

Sophie and Lara have each received five complimentary tickets for their families and 20 tickets for their schools to the Championships, as well as a day to remember!

Michele Reilly, class teachers at St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow has been a big supporter of the initiative and said: “At present P4 are using the resource, with P6 intending to make use of it after the mid-term break. It has certainly helped to bring enthusiasm and excitement about the Championships coming to Glasgow because the children feel that they are part of it with them living here.

“The children have enjoyed carrying out activities and entering the competitions. They have found it challenging but fun. They are expressing more interest in gymnastics as a sport and are more aware of the competing countries. As it is interdisciplinary, the children have been surprised by how much they have learned without realising that they have actually been learning!”

Thrilled to have created the winning design, Sophie Campbell who attends the city’s Sapphire Gymnastics Club said: “I am delighted about winning the competition. I worked really hard on my leotard design and tried to make it eye catching. I am now very excited about going to see the gymnasts at the Hydro because I have never been to a gymnastic competition or to the Hydro, so this will be a good day for me, my family and my class.”

It is a dream come true for the second competition winner, gymnastics mad Lara Storrie, who trains at the City of Glasgow Gymnastics Club. Lara said: “It was very exciting when I found out I won, I didn’t expect it. I really love gymnastics so I can’t wait to see the Americans and Great Britain with the rest of my class.”

This initiative is part of the city’s commitment to developing a legacy from hosting the event and encouraging more young people to take up the sport of gymnastics as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.

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