By Simon Parkinson
EIGHT King Edmund Gym Club aces and two of their proud coaches have booked plane passes to Israel for the European Acrogymnastic Championships in October.
Finn Cochrane and Kirsten Owen, Dove Strachan-Wills and Nyree Williams, Dylan Howells and Lola Sady and George Paget and Harry Hole all had their places in the Great Britain team confirmed following successful recent results at the British Championships in Liverpool.
Extensive trials had already been conducted at Lilleshall in Shropshire prior to that in which 16 gymnasts from Yate-based King Edmund GC, forming seven partnerships of various ages and categories, were put through their paces.
They were also watched closely by GB selectors performing at the British Championships in which Hole and Paget were crowned 11-16 men’s pair champions, whilst Cochrane and Owen (senior mixed pair)), Strachan-Wills and Williams (junior women’s pair) and Howells and Sady (junior mixed pair) all scooped silver medals.
That proved sufficient for all to secure their seats to the prestigious two-week Euro tournament which takes place in the city of Holon, near Tel Aviv, Israel, from October 21.
Others to shine on Merseyside, yet narrowly missing out on GB selection, were 11-16 men’s four hopefuls Daniel Owen, Alex Reeve, Joel Compton and Ed Haskew, who clinched silver in their section as did 11-16 mixed pair Freya Lane and Lewis Hays, while Alex Basu and Vinny Panetta carried off a bronze medal in the 12-18 men’s pair class.
It had all initially made for the largest collection of King Eddies gymnasts – 16 – at any one time vying for places at the illustrious Euros event.
And delighted club manager Mark Thorne enthused: “The eight that ARE going from King Eddies makes for the highest representation ever for Great Britain by any one club at the Europeans.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks for us in respect of the British Championships and subsequent selection of not only eight of our gymnasts but also our two coaches Nikki Thorne and Vladimir Makarchenko, which is a real privilege
“To have four partnerships boarding the plane to Israel is a real feather in the cap for us and I’m sure they’ll all give of their best when the big occasion comes around as they always do.
“Of course these types of successes couldn’t come about if we didn’t have such a hard-working and dedicated team of coaches, not to mention the way the gymnasts themselves go about their business so professionally and the backing they receive from their families.
“The club has been going for almost four decades now and evolved into a real force on the world acrogymnastic stage, helped these days by tremendous facilities used by our 1,500 gymnasts of all ages at Yate International Gymnastics Centre within Yate Leisure Centre.”
Once the Euros have concluded it will be all systems go with preparations for the Champions League in Porto in mid-November, a prestigious club competition at which King Eddies participants will be looking to better their runners-up status last year behind St Petersburg winners from Russia.
Meanwhile a charity bike ride from Yate to Liverpool over four days leading up to the British Championships involving King Edmund GC staff and supporters, Mark Thorne, Pete Grehan, Louis Stinchcombe and Kev Owen, generated £3,300 for the Lucy Ellis Foundation.
The fund-raiser, completed over four stages, was also undertaken to raise awareness of sepsis, which tragically and unexpectedly claimed the life of King Eddies’ talented 16-year-old gymnast Lucy 15 months ago.