Why gymnastics is more important than you thought

Trevor and Peter Dowdell take a tour of the new facility.
Trevor and Peter Dowdell take a tour of the new facility. Warren Lynam

THE opening of a $2 million state-of-the-art gymnastics facility in Caloundra is a testament to the YMCA's capacity to identify areas of potential need.

The organisation's Brisbane branch identified a need three years ago and began talks with Sunshine Coast Council to secure a lease of the Arthur Street Community Hall in Caloundra.

One of the state's finest gymnasts Trevor Dowdell also began compiling a waiting list of young people wanting to become involved.

When the YMCA established gymnastic coaching at the hall in 2014 it was a set up and pack up share deal with a boxing club.

YMCA Brisbane group manager for fitness and recreation Michael Tsiamis said there was 80sq m of space for 80 kids.

When the boxing club vacated the amount of space jumped to 450sq m and numbers to 400.

Now with 850 sq m of space following construction of the state-of-the-art gymnasium, numbers are 750 with the goal, Mr Tsiamis said, to eventually have 1000 registered gymnasts training and learning.

The new gym is attached to the old community centre and takes in land once occupied by a Caloundra Tennis Club court.

Mr Tsiamis said gymnastics was historically seen as the foundation of all sports. Most of the kids now enrolled in programs at the centre (85-90%) are participation-based, rather than competitive.

Eventually the whole spectrum of Sunshine Coast sporting endeavour may be improved as a result.

He said down the track specialty classes for surfers would be developed.

"To go from 80 to 750 (members) is rapid growth,'' Mr Tsiamis said.

A rhythmic gymnastics program will also be introduced as will free running or parkour to attract more males to the mix.

Balance and coordination programs for over 60s are also on the agenda and the YMCA has partnered with Sunshine Coast Council to run a 10-week weight loss and fitness community challenge.

Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer was on hand to officially open the facility on the corner of Arthur St and Central Park Rd.

The day acknowledged the partnership between the YMCA and the council and also recognised the contribution to Queensland gymnastics by the Dowdell Family and particularly the brothers Trevor and Peter.

Topics:  cr tim dwyer gymnastics parkour sunshine coast council surfing ymca

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