A STRONG contingent from Xcel are heading to the national finals after claiming a string of gold medals at the south region preliminaries.
It’s a sign of the fantastic progress being made by the popular gymnastics club, who recently moved into their new home in Horndean.
Talents like Tyler George, 10, Evie Slater, 12, Alex Martin, 11, Callum Bungay, 14, and Jake Clark, eight, are leading the charge.
They each won gold medals in the south competition held at Redbridge Community School.
Emily Treacher, 11, Jack Humphray, 12, and Nathaniel Allman, 12, also secured gold to reach the nationals.
They are joined by Sophie Helps, 14, and Millie Ingleby, 11, who complete the Xcel group going forward.
Helps and Ingleby picked up a silver medal in the south region at grade one but were beaten by a pair who are now over age for the nationals.
Head coach Denise Wilkinson is thrilled by the way the young gymnasts are blazing a trail for others to follow.
She said: ‘We are really proud of them.
‘They will be in the gym training hard, working on their routines and making a few tweaks ahead of the nationals.
‘They are all very excited about the competition.
‘We recently moved into our new facility in Horndean – as we’re a newly-formed club and it is a good venue for us.
‘In the past, we have never really entered great numbers into the south region competition but now we have more gymnasts working at that level.
‘As a new club there is a real buzz around and lots of talk about us in the community.
‘We have had hundreds of new members come through the door. It’s very exciting.
‘We are able to identify talented gymnasts and move them up to competition level.’
The national finals are split into categories at Fenton Manor, Stoke on Trent.
Sports acrobatics takes place on May 18 and 19 and tumbling is held on June 1 and 2.
Xcel will be looking to make a strong impact on both disciplines.
‘Evie Slater achieved the highest tumbling scores of the whole day (southern region) with a total of 81.90,’ added Wilkinson.
‘Tyler George was just behind with a score of 81.30 and he will be representing Xcel Gymnastics at both tumbling and sports acrobatics.
‘Evie and Tyler are turning a lot of heads at the moment and have really good potential.
‘They are both very powerful and neat and tidy in what they do.’
In addition to the 10 gymnasts who are heading for the nationals, Xcel also celebrated a clutch of other medals from the south region event.
Laura Elliott, 17, Lauren Taylor, 14, and Jessica Hughes, 12, won an acrobatics group bronze at grade two.
Imogen Bailey, 12, took silver in tumbling at grade five and Nuala Smith, 14, claimed bronze at grade four.
Anna Tapper, 15, and Mia Furneaux, 10, finished fifth in acrobatics grade two pairs.