Gymnasts go international

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:36 15 June 2010

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Honiton gymnasts have returned triumphant from their first international competition after taking on - and beating - some of the best acrobatic gymnastics teams in Europe.

Honiton gymnasts have returned triumphant from their first international competition after taking on - and beating - some of the best acrobatic gymnastics teams in Europe.The gymnasts, aged between 10 and 19 years, were competing at the Gutenberg Cup, near Frankfurt, in Germany, against opposition from countries including Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. And despite this being their first ever international, they put in excellent performances, which resulted in one of the acrobatic groups taking the silver medal in their category.In the age group women's group event Faye Miles (16) from Feniton, Sarah Hodkinson (14) from Cullompton and Lauren Davey (10) from Honiton were in fourth position after their first routine. But, following an almost faultless performance in their final exercise, they finished the competition in second position.The trio of Jess Todd (11) from Honiton, Erica Podbury (19) from Stockland and Fiona Wood (18) from Stoke sub Hamdon then competed in the junior women's group event, taking a well-deserved fifth position, while Jess Todd and Jess Bollen (19) took fourth in the junior women's pair event.Ten-year-old Lauren, who attends Honiton Primary, said: "I love acrobatic gymnastics. I train four times a week and even though sometimes it's very hard work, it's lots of fun too. When I did the competition in Germany I tried to remember everything that my coaches told me, like pointing my toes and keeping tight in my somersaults. I think that helped me do well in my routines."The girls attend Honiton Gym Club for up to 13 hours per week and fit in extra training sessions whenever they get the chance. They had been training for the Gutenberg Cup since the start of the year, which began with many of them taking medals at the South West Acrobatic Championships, followed by performances at the British Championships and national finals. Honiton Gym Club head coach Helen Nayler said: "The girls all were a credit to the gym club and commendable ambassadors for Honiton. The competition gave them the chance to compete on a whole new stage and experience the extra demands of international performance, and it's encouraging to know that in their first international competition they can come back with such good results. "While Honiton Gym Club has the capacity to train potential gymnasts to an international standard, it also has classes for gymnasts of all levels, from recreational and novice through to intermediate and elite performers. The club is now running an increased number of sessions, and welcomes boys and girls of any age to come along to sessions at Honiton Leisure Centre and try out this exciting sport. To find out more call Helen Nayler on 07825 181693, email or ask at the leisure centre reception.

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