Drumbrae care home residents get in Olympic spirit

DRESSED in team colours, they took part in the traditional opening ceremony as makeshift paper flames flickered in the air from the Olympic torch.

Senior olympics held at Inch View Care Home, Gilmerton, Edinburgh. Isa Soper gets into the curling. Picture Toby Williams

Almost 100 athletes and spectators shook pom poms while the “stadium” rocked to the tones of Tina Turner and Queen.

But when the rampant fervour calmed down there was business to be taken care of – and medals to be won.

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Javelin, tennis and hammerthrowing were all on the schedule as a touch of what’s soon to come in Rio arrived at two city care homes.

Inch View Care Home, Gilmerton. Home of the Senior Olympics.

Edinburgh’s inaugural Care Home Games got under way at Drumbrae on Tuesday before the action reached its gripping finale at Inchview yesterday.

After 11 teams arrived to signature theme tunes such as Simply the Best, We are the Champions and Eye of the Tiger, city health leader Councillor Ricky Henderson addressed the veteran competitors.

Then it was time to let the games begin – as residents as old as 100 did battle in events including new-age kurling, Unstrictly Dancing and Care Home Does Countdown.

And, unlike the real Olympics, there was no chance of a doping scandal breaking out.

Inch View Care Home, Gilmerton. Home of the Senior Olympics.

Yesterday’s festivities were opened by William Gentlemen, who is the British record holder in three separate age groups for hammer-throwing.

The 76-year-old, from Craiglockhart, also took on responsibility as coach, helping others to perfect their javelin-throwing techniques.

He said: “The event has been fantastic, everyone has been very welcoming. The opening ceremony was very impressive.

“I’ve been helping with throwing techniques and I’m very impressed with how well some of the residents have done.

“It’s been amazing to watch people realise what they can actually do. This activity has been great to give them a flavour of athletics.

“People should never feel too old to compete.”

Meanwhile, Inchview resident Sidney Ball was undoubtedly qualified to judge Unstrictly Dancing – having appeared in The Prince and Showgirl alongside Marilyn Monroe in 1957. At the end of each day the winning participants in each sport were presented with medals.

Elaine Perry, manager at Inchview Care Home, said: “We were delighted to host this event and Inchview was transformed into an athletes’ village.

“Residents and staff have all got involved and have either been in training or making banners and pom-poms to cheer on their friends.”

Anita Jefferies, Ageing Well manager at Edinburgh Leisure, which helped to organise the games, said: “Staying active certainly helps to hold back the years, both physically and mentally and these games are a celebration of that and will hopefully get others inspired, no matter what their age or fitness levels.”