Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Olympic gymnasts train at Sheftival

The Russian Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team has held an open training session in South Yorkshire.

The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield where the free event began at 13:30 BST has already been the base for some of the team's training.

The 2,000 free tickets for the training are part of Sheftival - a weekend of sport, music and culture.

The festival is timed to celebrate Sheffield's Jess Ennis competing for a heptathlon Olympic medal.

Sheftival takes place on a 25-acre site at the city's Don Valley Stadium and Bowl, and the English Institute Of Sport. It includes eight stages and 25 sports events to try.

Nicola Freitas, from the festival, said: "Music and sport are two of Sheffield's great strengths so the idea fell together."

The organisers expect up to 15,000 people to take part each day.

'High-level gymnastics'

The training Russian team will also be joined by individual gymnasts from Korea, Japan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Rhythmic gymnasts use a combination of gymnastics and dance, with short routines performed to music using a hoop, a ball, clubs and a ribbon.

Ruth Exley, a gymnastics coach at Don Valley Stadium, said: "I'm very excited this is really high-level gymnastics and everybody can learn from watching."

"Have a go at gymnastics, there are lots of health benefits, strength, flexibility and agility and it's fun."

The Olympic rhythmic gymnastics competition starts on 9 August at Wembley Arena.

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