Duo off to Youth Games

Wishing Lisburn gymnasts Casey Jo Bell and Ewan McAteer all the very best of luck as they set off to the European Youth Olympic Festival in Georgia are (l-r) Mandy McMaster, Salto Gymnastics; Ewan McAteer; Dame Mary Peters DBE CH;  Councillor Thomas Beckett, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh and Casey Jo Bell. Pic by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Wishing Lisburn gymnasts Casey Jo Bell and Ewan McAteer all the very best of luck as they set off to the European Youth Olympic Festival in Georgia are (l-r) Mandy McMaster, Salto Gymnastics; Ewan McAteer; Dame Mary Peters DBE CH; Councillor Thomas Beckett, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh and Casey Jo Bell. Pic by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

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Two local gymnasts have been selected to compete in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) which will be held in Georgia from tomorrow, July 25 to August 2.

Salto Gymnasts Ewan McAteer and Casey Jo Bell, both from Lisburn, comprise two of the five strong, Irish gymnastics team having achieved the Olympic qualifying score earlier in the year.

The 15 year olds were selected by the Irish Olympic Council to compete at the event in Tbilisi.

Both gymnasts are Bursary Award Winners from the Mary Peters Trust. Dame Mary Peters DBE CH, with the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh, Councillor Thomas Beckett, joined with Mandy McMaster from Salto to wish both gymnasts the very best of luck and to congratulate them on their selection achievement.

The Mayor said: “I am delighted Ewan and Casey Jo will have the opportunity to compete in Tbilisi. Well done to them, to Salto, to their trainers and to their families for the dedication, effort and commitment athleticism at this standard requires.

“We will be looking to their progress with interest,” he added.

Casey Jo Bell and her personal coaches Kim Kensett-Friar and Sun Jie from City of Lisburn, Salto Gymnastics Centre made history for Gymnastics Ireland last year by qualifying for the junior All-Around finals at the 2014 Women’s European Junior Championships in Sofia.

Casey also recently competed in the 2015 Flanders International Team Challenge competition in May, as a training preparation for EYOF.

Ewan McAteer has recently won a bronze medal on vault at the British Championships; taken Silver medal at the All-around Irish Championships in May and helped his Irish team to secure Team Gold in the Celtic Cup in Wales in April.

He has been training under the guidance of his new high performance coach, Wajdi Bouallègue.

Wajdi, a two-time Olympian, is Head Coach for boys gymnastics at Salto Gymnastics National Centre has been working closely with Ewan to ensure that he is on top form for the competition and tips Ewan’s vault as ‘the one to watch’ from Ireland at the European Youth Olympic Festival.

The program of EYOF includes 9 sports: judo, tennis, artistic gymnastics, cycling, athletics, swimming, volleyball, handball and basketball.

Over 3800 athletes from 50 European countries will arrive in Tbilisi to participate in the Youth Olympic Festival.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Thomas Beckett has officially named the ‘Mary Peters Trust’ as his chosen charity for his Mayoral Term.

Both Ewan and Casey have benefitted from The Mary Peters Trust and from Sport Lisburn and are delighted to have their support.

Ewan and Casey would also like to thank their coaches at Salto Gymnastics National Centre, Gymnastics Ireland and Irish Olympic Council for their continued support and wish all of the athletes in ‘Team Ireland’ good luck at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Georgia.