Golden glow for Archer and Coomber in finals

Left to right: Harry Bryant, Callum Archer, Felix Coomber and Jack Humphray
Left to right: Harry Bryant, Callum Archer, Felix Coomber and Jack Humphray
Portsmouth gymnasts impressed in Jersey

Portsmouth gymnasts enjoy successful Jersey trip

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Callum Archer and Felix Coomber are celebrating becoming national champions.

The Xcel gymnasts turned on the style to help the south team secure level one gold in Birmingham.

Archer added individual gold to make him a double national champion.

Coomber also impressed to finish fifth overall in a field of more than 70 of the top young gymnasts from around Great Britain.

The Xcel duo were extremely focused and performed their routines superbly across the seven apparatus.

They were joined by club-mates Harry Bryant, who helped the south team secure fourth place at level three with his 30th-place overall, and Jack Humphray, who performed well at level five to finish 20th.

Archer and Coomber will now head to the British Gymnastics headquarters to train alongside the senior national squad, including the likes of Max Whitlock, Lewis Smith and Daniel Purvis.

The four-day camp at Lilleshall National Sports Centre will be a hugely memorable experience for the duo, both aged nine.

They will be joined by Xcel coach Lee Carmichael, who led the south team to success, along with Adam Paterson from Dynamo School of Gymnastics.

Xcel head coach Denise Wilkinson revealed Archer and Coomber are taking it all in their stride.

She said: ‘Both Callum and Felix are quiet lads – quietly confident.

‘They are really professional – it sounds funny because they are only nine.

‘But the thoughts were “job done, now let’s move on to the next one”.

‘Perhaps they are a little bit too young to realise exactly what they have achieved.

‘But they came back and showed everyone their medals and that was nice.

‘They are really lucky to have a place in the camp. It’s a real treat for them.

‘For them to go to the British HQ and be training with the squads up there shows to them they are good athletes and can mix it among the best in the sport.

‘It’s a chance to sample the experience of what it is like for the GB athletes who are eating, sleeping, breathing gymnastics. A taste for them of what it is like at the top level.’

Bryant, 11, and Humphray, 13, also showed their impressive progress by performing well on the national stage.

Wilkinson said: ‘For Jack, it was a first national final at the age of 13. That’s quite unheard of. It shows he is coming through later on. He keeps progressing.

‘Harry has been to national finals before and this time it was massive progress for him.’

The impressive results added the gloss to what has been a stunning season of results for the Horndean club.

Wilkinson said: ‘It has really lifted everybody in the gym – it was a great way to finish the year.

‘We’ve had really good results over the past year. We have had national champions in the tumbles and our accro group have done really well.

‘For the boys it is the first time they have had success at national level.

‘It is nice to see it happening across all the disciplines we do.’

Xcel run pre-school classes and take children from the age of 18 months.

Telephone Xcel on 023 9259 9809 or e-mail