JAMES LEAVER has been crowned Portsmouth Gymnastics Club’s first podium finisher in the men’s artistic British Championships.
The event, held at the 10,000 seater Echo Arena in Liverpool last month, saw Leaver, 16, execute a difficult routine on the parallel bars, achieving the score he needed to reach the podium and take the bronze, beating current international gymnasts and Great Britain squad members to the medals.
This follows his recent success in the English Championships.
He also competed on the rings where he placed eighth (12.45), vault ranking sixth (12.65) and high bar competing a new release and catch element successfully to rank 12th on this piece of apparatus.
Leaver, who is from Poole, spent much of 2017 on the sidelines with an injury to his neck but has worked hard on his rehabilitation programme to get back competing at a good level and for major medals.
His coaches hope he will continue to build his routines and will compete on all six pieces of apparatus towards the end of 2018.
Team-mate Sam Budden, 19, also from Poole, was up against many international superstars of the sport, including double Olympic champion Max Whitlock and had a mixed competition, but competed all six apparatus to finish 17th respectively.
Also competing in Liverpool for Portsmouth was James Carmichael, 12.
He competed in his first under-12 British Championships and gained valuable experience on an international style podium for the first time. He finished 35th out of 61 gymnasts.
In the under-14 category, Felix Coomber, 13, and Joshua Windebank, 13, competed solidly across all six pieces. With the latter actually competing with an injured hand, sustained during training in the week building up to the championships. Despite this, he finished an amazing 28th and Coomber 32nd out of a field of 80 gymnasts.
PGC head coach Adam Paterson said: ‘It’s been a brilliant start to the year for our male gymnasts.
‘The boys started their preparation towards the end of last year and really worked hard to prepare their routines. It’s fantastic to see their hard work pay off with good competition results.’
The men’s artistic squad will now look towards the regional championships hosted at Portsmouth Gymnastics Club this month.