FOUR rising stars from Portsmouth Gymnastics Club returned home from the Acrobatic National Finals in Stoke with bronze medals.
Just to qualify for this competition was a great achievement in itself as only those gymnasts who are ranked first in the South of England in the preliminary round are eligible to compete at national finals.
At the finals they were up against the best from nine other regions of England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
First to perform for PGC were Robyn Nightingale and Aurora Harris in the grade two pairs category.
They were drawn to perform last of the 13 finalists, so it was a nervous time waiting, particularly for Harris in her first major final.
When their chance came the PGC duo performed their very emotive routine beautifully with no significant errors and were awarded a final score of 27.67 to take third place.
They were just 0.03 of a mark behind silver medal position after a very impressive competition.
Lauren Eriksen and Morgan Dunmore were the south region representatives at grade six pairs.
At this level they had to perform two routines – firstly a dynamic routine and then a balance routine.
They performed their dynamic routine which included a new move that they had only learned in the last 10 days.
The PGC duo started well but an untidy end to their routine brought some extra deductions from the judges leaving them in seventh place after the first routine, 0.7 of a mark behind third place.
After the initial disappointment, it made them more determined to improve their position with their balance routine, which was their strongest routine.
They performed the second routine brilliantly, particularly their Mexican handstand combination and incredibly moved up to take the bronze medal by just 0.1 of a mark.
The acro squad members have only been training at the impressive gymnastics facility in Alex Way for a year and it makes their success all the more impressive.
Coach Natalie Walker praised the amazing achievement.
She said: ‘It was a great weekend for all involved and we are so proud of their achievements which were thoroughly deserved for all the hours of hard work involved.
‘For Lauren and Morgan to come from so far behind made the achievement even more amazing.
‘It was a real rollercoaster of emotions for all involved.
‘Two partnerships finished third in Great Britain at National Finals –what a fantastic way to finish our first year as PGC Acro.’
For more information about training at Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre telephone (023) 9266 0589.