By Simon Parkinson
KING Edmund Gym Club are celebrating more prestigious recognition on the international arena – on AND off the floor!
Four of the Yate-based club’s top acro-gym performers have been selected to represent Great Britain’s senior team at high-level back-to-back World Cup tournaments earmarked for May.
Beth Dix, 19, and Chloe Gunter, 15, will join forces once more to compete in the women’s pairs’ category, while another successful duo, 16-year-old Rob Bates and 20-year-old Chris Child, will combine again in the hope of bringing silverware back to South Gloucestershire in the men’s section.
Not content with that, the British fortunes will be overseen in part by King Eddies’ coaches Kellie Chapman and John O’Mahony. Chapman, who has been selected as a GB coach for the first time, will join her talented club foursome for the trip to Varna, Bulgaria, between May 5 and May 10, while O’Mahony has been pencilled in for the ensuing tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 12 to 17.
It means King Edmund GC now have four senior coaches on the books of the Great Britain national set-up, as head coach Nikki Thorne and her highly-experienced father, Tony Wills, are already well-established members of the coaching staff.
Thorne enthused: “It’s a great achievement by the club to have two more coaches selected by Great Britain, and it’s the first time King Eddies will be sending four of its competitors to World Cup tournaments in one go, which just shows how things are progressing on the senior front for us.
“It’s also the first time Chloe and Beth have been selected for GB, and their inclusion is all the more remarkable given they have only been together as a pairing with us for a year and a half.
“They are going to the two tournaments looking to follow in the footsteps of our Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones, who finished second overall after two World Cup events in 2013.
“Rob and Chris did compete for GB at the World Junior Championships last year, but this is still a significant step up for them to compete at senior level, and of course we wish all four of them, and Kellie and John of course, all the luck in the world.”
Chapman said of her coaching call-up: “To be given this responsibility is a great honour, just as it is for our four gymnasts who have all come on leaps and bounds at various stages of their careers with King Eddies.
“I was fortunate enough to represent King Edmund as a gymnast for Great Britain, so to now be given this position as a national coach is a real privilege and it’s testament to all the hard work and devotion that is shown by everyone at the club.”
It doesn’t end there either for fast-emerging Dix and Gunter, who were also called up by the Welsh national squad recently for a Celtic Cup competition at Limerick in southern Ireland and performed with some distinction to help their compatriots finish second only to the crack Team Scotland team, who claimed the title for the third successive time.
King Eddies head coach Nikki Thorne said: “It was the first time we’d ever had representation for Wales and by all accounts Beth and Chloe performed very well to help the team win a silver medal.”