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ETKO Sports Academy
Established in 2008 by Laura and Vio Etko, ETKO Sports Academy combines purpose-built fitness facilities with top-quality coaching, exercise classes and sporting activities for members of all ages.
The company, which operates from a site in Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire has a 30-strong staff team and welcomes over 1000 members through its doors each week.
'Our members continue to inspire and impress us with their attitude and achievements'
We are absolutely delighted that several individuals who attended classes in the company's early days have progressed through our programme and gone on to become instructors with ETKO Sports Academy.
Laura Etko, founder and director, ETKO Sports Academy
Classes look like a lot of fun, tell us more!
We get a lot of great feedback from parents about our classes, all of which are underpinned by our unique fundamental movement and basic sport skills programme.
Our youngest members attend our pre-school programme, which incorporates baby gym, adult and toddler classes and gym tots sessions for the various pre-school stages. This leads onto our school-age provision, which includes age-appropriate classes in gymnastics, wrestling, kids physical fitness and running. Our provision for older children includes teen training and teen gymnastics classes. We also welcome youngsters of 13+ to many of the classes that we run for adults in our dedicated fitness suite and studio.
There really is something for everyone!
You work with a lot children, has anyone developed in a way you wouldn't have predicted?
Our members continue to inspire and impress us with their attitude and achievements. We have a number of junior wrestling champions, including Leon Etko (British Wrestling Closed Junior Champion and British Junior Champion), Colby Taylor (English Junior Champion) and Erin Mortimer (silver medallist, British Junior Championships).
ETKO Gymnastics Academy, our competitive division for gymnastics, was established around the same time. Our members, who have competed in two-piece and four-piece events at local and regional level, have already achieved some outstanding team and individual results.
We are absolutely delighted that several individuals who attended classes in the company’s early days have progressed through our programme and gone on to become instructors with ETKO Sports Academy. It has been an absolute joy to see both their physical abilities and confidence grow. It’s wonderful that they are now using their skills and experiences to inspire others, as well as exploring career opportunities in sport.
Standards sound very high, have you won any lovely awards?
We are delighted to have gained recognition in a number of awards schemes, including the Trend Life with Style Awards (Health & Wellbeing category) and Raring2go! Awards (Best School-age Club or Class). Our directors have also gained individual accolades: Laura was included in the ’40 under 40: Scotland 2016’ list and Vio is a former winner of Aberdeenshire Sport Council’s Coach of the Year award.
10 years in business is a fantastic achievement. How has the journey been?
When Laura and Vio decided to make their home in Aberdeenshire in 2008, Laura recognised a gap in the market for the type of gymnastics coaching that she herself had benefited from – and had then gone on to teach as a coach with the City of Glasgow Gymnastics Club.
What was then known as Laura’s Gym was founded to deliver fitness classes – including gymnastic and wrestling – for children. Within its first year, the response was such that the company doubled its predicted turnover and was a regional winner and national finalist in the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) awards (now known as Youth Business Scotland).
Over the following years, the company extended its services to incorporate a variety of different sporting opportunities for members of all ages and abilities – all based on the principle of fostering a lifelong interest in fitness.
In 2016, Laura’s Gym rebranded to become ETKO Sports Academy; this change coincided with the opening of the company’s 1092m² national-standard gymnastics centre. The centre now welcomes more than 1000 members through its door each week.
What does the future hold?
Our mission remains steadfast: to help each individual member to achieve their potential while inspiring a life-long love of fitness. This is reflected in our company slogan ‘Believe you can achieve’.
After a very successful first decade in business, we remain ambitious and we are committed to developing our provision to meet the growing need and interest in our area. In recent years, our wrestling programme has been extended to offer Mighty Movers and Wrestling4All sessions for boys and girls at different school stages. Our ETKO runners provision has also expanded, with additional new classes for both beginners and secondary school age children.
We have also made a particular effort to create fitness opportunities for teenagers; we run specialist teen training sessions and have opened up selected classes in our adult provision to teens. We are strongly committed to ensuring that fitness continues to be a part of young people’s lives as they mature into adulthood.