Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - EMMA CHAD­WICK ICK

FA­THER of six Tom Fowler can front- flip and hand­spring his way across the floor with the agility of a man half his age.

At 56, Mr Fowler is the old­est mem­ber of his Gym­nas­tics Townsville club but he is no slouch on the bal­ance beam and puts some younger gym­nasts to shame with his strength on the par­al­lel bars.

Mr Fowler said he had al­ways kept in shape but it was when his daugh­ter started gym­nas­tics that he first went to join in – and he hasn’t looked back.

“About two years ago I en­rolled my daugh­ter Mikaela, in a gym­nas­tics class and I saw they had adult classes,” he said.

“I was just look­ing through their book­let and I asked how old you had to be to do gym­nas­tics, and she said any age over 16, so I qual­i­fied.

“There are other men who go but I am the old­est in the whole club by at least two decades. I am like a lump of four- bytwo but since I started doing gym­nas­tics, I can nearly do the splits, and I can do front flips and hand springs.”

Mr Fowler, who is a man­ual arts teacher at the Cal­vary Chris­tian Col­lege high school, said his 15- year- old daugh­ter could still cut some gym­nas­tic moves that he couldn’t yet muster.

“She has a bit more fi­nesse than me,” he said.

“There’s cer­tain mus­cle- ups I can do that she can’t, it takes a lot of up­per body strength. I can nearly get up to a hand­stand on the par­al­lel bars.”

Mr Fowler said he hoped he in­spired oth­ers to have a go at gym­nas­tics.

“The gym­nas­tics has im­proved my health and I am much more flex­i­ble,” he said.

RAIS­ING BAR: Gym­nas­tics fan Tom Fowler, 56, proves it is never too late to get into a new sport.

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