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Going for gold: Care home residents training ahead of their own Scotland-wide Olympics

87-year-old Elsie Connell packs the punches with Lee McAllister at Jesmond Care Home.

Care homes in Aberdeen and Inverness are among 15 around Scotland currently preparing to compete in their own version of the Olympics.

With just weeks to go before the Tokyo 2020 games start, Renaissance Care homes will be facing against each other in five specially designed sports.

As well as trying to land the most punches on boxing pads, they are substituting a bean bag for a shot put, and recording who can complete the most 400m stints in July either on foot or by wheelchair.

The other sports include their own version of Olympic golf in a nine-hole pitch and putt, and seated volleyball using a balloon.

Elsie Connell, 87, who lives at Renaissance Care Jesmond Care Home in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, said: “I would have never thought I would be boxing at this age, but after trying it, I am really enjoying it and have seen some improvement already.”

80-year-old Margaret McNicol and Deputy Manager Rachael Hope wearing Team Jesmond t-shirts.

She added: “It’s great to be up and moving and all having a good laugh together – we are one big team here, so we’ve all been supporting each other, although a bit of competitive spirit has been keeping us all very motivated.”

Residents going for gold

Residents have been in training throughout June before the opening ceremonies held at each home.

They will compete throughout July before a closing ceremony at the end of the month.

Elsie added: “I can’t wait for the competition and closing ceremonies – I’m going for gold.”

John Shand, 87, from Kingsmills Care Home in Inverness, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the training for the Olympic Games so far.

“It has definitely brought out my competitive side and the staff have been great at setting everything up. It’s created a real buzz around the home.”

John can be seen training on a punch bag at the beginning of the video above.

He added: “The boxing and golf have been my favourite sports to take part in and following the Opening Ceremony, I’m looking forward to competing throughout July – I have my sights set on the gold medal!”

Renaissance Care operations director, Yvonne Mackenzie, said holding their own version of the Olympics “felt like the perfect way to bring everyone together”.

She said: “Encouraging physical activity for our residents is extremely important and we really wanted to create something fun that would get everyone involved.

“The residents across each of the homes have been enjoying the training and we have already seen a great lift in spirits as they get in touch with their competitive side.”

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