Local Gymnasts achieve Bronze in China!

IMG_1568-webBradley Stoke & Little Stoke Gifford Matters is please to share this local success story …

My name is Mrs Teresa Cross and I am writing regarding the recent bronze medal success of my daughter, her partner and the head coach of a small gymnastics club, (Harriers Acrobatic Gymnastics, based in Patchway) at the 2016 Acrobatic World Championships in China.

Many local papers and TV/Radio have reported about other gymnastic clubs in the South West and their success for team GB at the recent Acrobatic World Championships in Putain, China. This is of course fantastic for them and well deserved however I would like to tell you about our little less well known club which I think is a lovely underdog success story and one I hope you will agree could be published.

Harriers Acrobatics Gymnastics club is a relatively small club with very limited facilities. We train in Patchway Community College sports hall & Stoke Lodge Primary school hall on mats, as do not have a sprung floor, and can only train for approximately 12 hours per week as opposed to 20+ hours in other clubs.

Despite these limitations, my Daughter Kenedi Cross, aged 15, and her partner Vada Finniear, aged 18, were invited to trial for team GB last September for the mixed pair junior category (age group 12-18) 2015 European Championships in Riesa, Germany.   This was due to their successes in previous major competitions such as winning Gold in the British Championships in Liverpool, The Pat Wade Classic in Stoke on Trent and The Turin Cup in Italy all, in 2015.  We were all ecstatic at their successful trial and consequent selection for team GB.

IMG_1619-web IMG_1609-web IMG_1602-webThis was a first for our Acrobatic club in its 35 year history.  The pair went on to qualify in 4th place but due to an injury in warm up they were unable to compete in the finals.  This was a massive disappointment for the kids and the club.  However with lots of hard work, determination  and as they say ‘blood, sweat and tears’ they got back up to full fitness and were again selected to trial for the World Championships in March/April 2016 in Putain China along with the clubs senior mixed pair James Routley and Katie Allen. Unfortunately Katie sustained an injury and the pair were devastated at being unable to trial or compete alongside GB in the World Cup Series.

Kenedi and Vada completed two separate trials and were again successful and selected along with Sarah Bateman (as a GB coach) the head coach for Harriers.  This was again a first for Harriers in not only having gymnasts but also a coach selected for team GB!!! The support from not only the coaches and gymnasts but other parents was amazing!  They arranged for a Facebook Go-fund-me page to be set up and with their and family support, most of the funding was raised to help get them to China!

12 pairs from around the world competed over two days in the qualifying rounds.  Kenedi and Vada went on to qualify for the finals in 5th place after achieving the highest score for their balance routine in their category!!

8 pairs including the European champions from Portugal (who had qualified in 1st position) went through to the finals.  It was a nail-biting final with Kenedi and Vada in 3rd position with just the Portuguese Euro champions to go! I can honestly say it was the longest few minutes of our lives waiting for their score!!   When the scores came up and it was confirmed that two gymnasts from our little club had achieved a bronze medal it was emotional celebrations all around!

webVada and Kenedi said “We are so proud of our achievements, our coach Sarah and our club! It just goes to show that despite very limited training facilities, through sheer hard work, dedicated coaches and an amazing supportive club dreams really can come true!”

Sarah Bateman, head coach said “Not only am I pleased for the gymnasts achieving their bronze medals but also for the club and it’s dedicated coaches.  So often we look at where the gymnasts are now and forget where it all began and the preparation and hard work along the way from both gymnasts and coaches.”

Harriers are currently looking for premises to enable the club to grow, raise standards and facilitate their training needs in line with other well established clubs across the country.  If you are a local business that has premises/warehouse space that may be able to accommodate our club please contact Sarah via our website www.harriersacrobaticgymnastics.com  for further information.

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