By Simon Parkinson

NO fewer than EIGHT of King Edmund Gym Club’s top performers are braced to try and emulate the achievements of their illustrious predecessors when they take part in the World Acro Championships in Putian, China, at the end of March.

The gymnasts all successfully came through two selection events, at Loughborough University and Lilleshall National Sports Centre, to claim a place in the Great Britain line-up, which also features King Eddies head coach Nikki Thorne who will be playing her part once more in overseeing the fortunes of the GB team.

Current European Championship 11-16 bronze medallists Finlay Cochrane and Kirsten Owen will be representing the nation in that same age category, while the more experienced senior men’s pairing of Christopher Child and Robert Bates will have high hopes of clinching a medal too.

Two more King Eddies partnerships will sport the British colours for the first time. Marcus Flint and Harry Hole are to form a men’s duo in the 13-19 age bracket, while Millie Battensby and Dove Strachan-Wills target success as a 13-19 women’s pairing.

Manager of Yate-based King Edmund GC, Mark Thorne, explained: “We’re really looking forward to seeing how our guys do at these highly-prestigious acro championships because they’re following on from some good club traditions.

“It will be 25 years since our Cheryl Wilcox and Robert Barton so famously won gold for GB at the same competition, and in China too.

“Christopher knows all about succeeding at the World Championships as he won gold at the Poland games in 2010 in 11-16 partnership with Jake Underdown, while more of our King Edmund gymnasts, Douglas Fordyce and Shelley Evans (Portugal 2006), and Shanie Redd-Thorne and Kamen Mitchell (Glasgow 2008), all came home with gold medals as world champions.

“These eight gymnasts of ours competing in Putian at the end of this month/start of April have a lot to live up to when you consider how well we’ve done in the past as a club.

“But they’re all selected for a reason and we know they’ll be giving it their best shot over there.”