SPORTS TWINNING: 30th anniversary celebrations

Martial arts sports twinners from Rugby and Russelsheim
Martial arts sports twinners from Rugby and Russelsheim

Special weekend for martial arts students from Rugby and Russelsheim

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, it was Rugby’s turn to welcome visitors from our twin town of Russelsheim in Germany.

Chief instructor of the Freestyle Martial Arts Association Vendon Wright greeted 22 exchange students on their arrival at Birmingham International airport. First stop was the Grosvenor Hotel in Rugby for a welcome reception.

On Friday the packed itinerary began at Leam Valley Golf Centre on the Southam road, for a game of football golf, which they found very entertaining.

The group were then taken to the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre to enjoy the swimming pool. The long day was finished off with a celebration party at one of the hosts’ houses.

On Saturday morning the main twinning competition took place at Barby Village Hall; consisting of competitive fighting, Kata competition and a demonstration section.

Rugby were triumphant, notching up a special win as this was also their 30th twinning anniversary.

In the afternoon they were treated to a music festival at the Caldecott Park, which just happened to be on at the right time. They thought that the music festival was a great way of spending the weekend with the family.

The night finished off with a twinning disco and presentation at the Workers Club in Oliver Street, where Rugby Riding club, who were also hosting seven visitors from Germany, joined with Vendon and the Taekwondo club for their annual twinning party.

These two clubs are now sadly the only two left in Rugby to participate in the twinning events with Russelsheim, which back in the early 1990s used to involve up to 500 people travelling to compete in more than 20 sports.

On Sunday morning the Russelsheim group were treated to a tour of Althorp in Northamptonshire, where they learned about Princess Dianna and the 500 year history of her family home.

They were shown around the beautiful grounds, stables and the 19 luxury rooms filled with historic paintings.

While still in Northampton, the students went on to a Laser zone entertainment centre, where they had to almost be forced to leave, because they were enjoying themselves so much.

They later admitted that they don’t have such entertainments in Russelsheim. The exciting twinning weekend continued as they made their way to the ten-pin bowling club in Northampton, since the one in Rugby has sadly closed down. The night finished off with a gathering at another host’s house.

The Bank Holiday Monday was first met with a breakfast spread put on by Café Vin Cinq in Rugby town centre, especially for the twinning guests.

They then were shown around Rugby and all the developments since their last visit, before leaving to catch their flight back to Russelsheim.

Master Vendon Wright 6th Dan black belt, who teaches at the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre and Rugby School, is hoping to take students over to Germany in 2016.

Sixth dan black belt Vendon says that he no longer sees it as just a twinning, but as an annual visit to celebrate with some wonderful friends from Russelsheim.