Euro glory within reach of Suki trio

Sian Bennett, Natalie Porter and  Phoebe Moran
Sian Bennett, Natalie Porter and Phoebe Moran
The talented City of Portsmouth boys' squad. Picture: Matthew Reeds

Southern region joy for Portsmouth boys

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Natalie Porter heads a trio of Gosport aerobic gymnasts who have set their sights on glory after their selection for the Great Britain international squad.

Twenty-year-old Porter, who is no stranger to national and international honours, is joined by 10-year-old Suki AGC club-mates Sian Bennett and Phoebe Moran, who have been selected after their first year of competition.

Porter struck gold at the Heathrow International and the Southern Region events last year, while Bennett and Moran displayed the kind of potential for future success with a string of consistent performances.

And now the trio will be preparing for a busy schedule over the next few months, with the ultimate goal of representing GB at the European Championships in November.

Porter explained: ‘It was a really good year for me but it was a really good year for the club as well – we’ve expanded so much.

‘All of our gymnasts – not just us three – have worked so hard and made real progress.

‘We’ve got the national competition – the Alex Strachan Cup – coming up next month.

‘We’ve also got the Welsh, the British Championships, the Heathrow International and the Southern Region and any internationals that we get invited to.

‘It’s a pretty busy schedule. It’s really intense training with the GB squad, but it will improve us and it means we will have a better chance of going to the bigger international events.

‘But the main target is the European Championships in November, and it’s up to us to make sure we perform consistently to get selected.’

Porter, who now competes at senior level, will link up with the rest of the GB aerobic gymnasts eight times over the coming year, while Bennett and Moran will attend six sessions at national development level.

And Porter, who combines her own competing with her position as head coach at Suki, is delighted by the progress of the young duo.

She said: ‘Our goal was for them to make the GB squad, but it’s rare for them to do it in their first year of competition.

‘But they have put in the work and it just shows the potential they both have.

‘I was really pleased for them when they were selected and they will only improve with more experience.

‘I’m head coach of the club, while Su Killeen is the coaching director and my personal coach. We work side-by-side with all the other coaches.

‘It can be difficult sometimes. You have to get the right balance between the coaching and training ,and I’m constantly on the go.

‘But I think it is improving my basic skills. We’ve got all different abilities of gymnasts at the club so when you work with them on the basics, it helps your own skills.’

Porter secured a string of top-10 finishes last season and is determined to continue her consistent run.

She said: ‘I was pleased with my performances, but one tiny error in a routine can cost you any chance of a medal at this level.

‘We’re hoping to attend as many events as possible this year, but so much of it comes down to funding that it’s difficult when we have to generate our own sponsorship and grants to be able to compete.’