Four years on from the Kuala Lumpur Games, John Smethurst again wins gold and bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. John is now a coach here at CMIG.
Mark Freeman put the icing on the cake by taking Britain’s first ever European Title on rings. Mark went on to a sports scholarship in America.
Paul Bowler became an institution in the world-famous Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas, with his own specialist act. Mark also went on to join Paul in Cirque Du Soleil.
Due to the success of the club, we were designated a High Performance Centre for British Gymnastics in 2002. This award included a National Coach being permanently attached to the gym, and a large capital grant from Sport England to upgrade the facilities.
However, the poor old Gorton Baths was on its last legs by this point, having been home to the club for the last twenty years, with water stains on the walls from a leaking roof – it was 110-years-old after all!
From discussions with the City Council and Sport England, it was decided to abandon any ideas of refurbishment. The search was on for a different building.
Amazingly, the answer came in the guise of another redundant swimming pool: Neptune’s Kingdom on Garratt Way, just 800 meters away from Gorton Baths and adjacent to Gorton Library.
The City Council offered financial aid to help with the conversion, adding to the Sports Council grant. And the club raised over £200,000 towards the project from many fund raising events.
And this became the third site for the gymnastics club.