Honiton gymnasts net gold medal haul at Kent competition

Shelley, Tally and Georgina on the podium

Shelley, Tally and Georgina on the podium - Credit: Archant

Honiton Gymnastics Club took 51 gymnasts to Tunbridge Wells in Kent for the Next Dimension Gymnastics Academy (NDGA) Invitational last weekend, returning with five gold medals, seven silvers and four bronzes.

It’s the biggest team that the club has ever taken away to an invitational competition, and the occasion was made even more memorable by the fact that Honiton was the most successful club at the event.

With 51 gymnasts competing in 23 acrobatic partnerships, Honiton fielded gymnasts in a wide variety of levels, from Grade 1 (novice) through to ‘13-19’ junior international level.

Gold medals were brought home by 13-19 women’s trio Kaisha Dessalines-Wright, Louise Miller, and Sammy Britten, in the 13-19 women’s trio); Devon Roe-Lavery and Jack Britten (youth men’s pair); Georgina Craig, Natalya Pushkarev and Shelly Quick (grade 4 trio); Hallie Bennett and Kian Thomas (grade 1 mixed pair) and Joe Shackleton and Thomas Merrick (grade 1 men’s pair).

The club’s high performance coach James Reddy said: “The competition was a wonderful opportunity for Honiton gymnasts, many of whom had never previously competed outside of the south west region.

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“One of our gymnasts, Hallie Bennett, is just six years old – the youngest in the competition – so it was a thrill for her to not only compete well with her partner Kian Thomas but also win her first gold medal against older gymnasts.”

The competition included acrobatic gymnasts from throughout the UK, plus competitors from Germany and Italy.

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Reddy said: “This is the first year for some time that we have opted not to compete abroad at an international competition, so it opened up the doors for some of our younger gymnasts to compete at a UK competition.”

Honiton’s preparation and intermediate-level gymnasts were chosen to represent the club based on both their potential and their performance at the recent SW Prelims competitions. The club’s elite gymnasts used the event to begin their preparations for the British Championships in July.

Reddy added: “We had an incredible level of success at the weekend, and while we’re delighted with all the golds that we brought home we’re also proud of every gymnast that competed for Honiton, many improving their performances once again and showing great promise for the future.”

Honiton gymnasts who competed at the NDGA competition train between eight and twelve hours per week, some travelling four times per week from as far as Plymouth and Yeovil to practice.

The not-for-profit club has grown so much over the past five years that it now boasts more than 300 members, and classes are in such high demand that they now have waiting lists for all recreational classes.

To find out more about the club contact James Reddy by email at jamesreddy2@gmail.com

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