Olympic star to hold college masterclass

Gymnastics star Louis Smith is heading for Ashville College in Harrogate
Gymnastics star Louis Smith is heading for Ashville College in Harrogate

A gymnastics superstar is heading to Harrogate’s Ashville College next week.

Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith – who is also a Strictly Come Dancing winner - will pay a visit to the eponymous three-day Louis Smith Gymnastics Academy on Wednesday, August 5 - the first-time it is being held at the independent school.

Louis’ prowess on a pommel horse won in bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver four years later in the 2012 London Olympics.

He was also an integral member of the Great Britain team that took the bronze in the men’s artistic team all-around in the London games.

In 2013 he was awarded an MBE, and earlier this year he became the European champion on the pommel horse.

Ashville College’s David Williams said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to be welcoming Louis to Ashville, where he will be spending the day coaching and inspiring budding young gymnasts. His Olympic success, combined with appearances on Strictly Come Dancing and, latterly, as a judge on Tumble, has made him a national superstar.”

The Louis Smith Gymnastics Academy, which takes places between August 5 and 7, is the first of four sporting camps being staged at Ashville College this summer.

A week later, August 10-14, the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy will again be gracing the fields with its presence.

The International Netball Roadshow will take place on Wednesday, August 19, for three days, and, finally, the Dita Hockey Masterclass is coming to Ashville from August 26 to 28.

Special visitor to the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy will be former England cricketer Glen Chapple, who in 2011 became one of only five players to reach 7,000 runs and 700 wickets for Lancashire.

England netball star Emma Dovey, who won five international caps, will be making a guest appearance at the International Netball Roadshow on Wednesday, August 19. Nicknamed “Dovehead”, Emma currently plays for Manchester Thunder.

The nationwide Dita Hockey Masterclass is available to boys and girls aged seven-16. It offers training at any standard and is a great opportunity to improve general hockey skills.

Mr Williams added: “Over the last few years our other academies and camps have attracted some very big names from the world of sport. Such individuals have included Andrew Flintoff himself, Jimmy Anderson and Dominic Cork.

“It will be superb to see Louis attending his own gymnastics academy and interacting with the children. Hopefully everyone will be able to take something from this fantastic opportunity.”