Back wants to keep progressing... Batley wins young sportsman of the year

News Sports Awards young sportsman of the year runner-up, Joe Lewis Back. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
News Sports Awards young sportsman of the year runner-up, Joe Lewis Back. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
The talented City of Portsmouth boys' squad. Picture: Matthew Reeds

Southern region joy for Portsmouth boys

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Promising young gymnast Joe Lewis Back hopes to continue his eye-catching performances this year.

The eight-year-old Xcel star was recognised for his outstanding results in 2014 
by finishing runner-up in The News Sports Awards young sportsman of the 
year.

Back won the prestigious London Open last year, beating stiff competition from national standard gymnasts to take the title.

And the win in September last year ranks as one of his highlights.

He said: ‘My favourite competition was the London Open when I won the rings, high bars and was the overall champion.

‘When I walked up to the podium I felt really emotional.’

The talented youngster certainly has high hopes for the future.

‘I want to do exactly the same this year and keep progressing until I get up to a big age and start going to the Olympics,’ he said.

The overall winner in Back’s category was rugby player Joe Batley.

The Portsmouth-born forward started his career in the youth set-up at Gosport & Fareham.

The 18-year-old is now a regular in the England youth ranks and is making rapid progress in his goal to reach the senior side.

Batley was unable to 
attend the gala evening at the Kings Theatre last week as 
he was with the England under-20 squad preparing 
for Friday’s Six Nations match against Italy, which they won 61-0.

His dad, Robin Batley, picked up the award on his behalf and said: ‘He’s 18 years old, six-foot-nine, has size 15 feet, weighs 119kg and he can run 100 metres in 11.2 seconds.

‘He has a contract with Gloucester and plays for England’s under-20s but the important thing with Joe is he remembers where he came from.

‘Whenever he comes home he will be down at Gosport & Fareham helping out, coaching the under-eights or under-nines and giving something back to the club.’

The Gloucester Academy talent was educated at Leesland Junior School and Bay House School in Gosport and is currently doing his A-levels at Hartpury College.