Local gymnasts make the grade

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Kelly Simm. Picture: PA

Kelly Simm to represent Team England in Commonwealth Games

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The region’s next generation of gymnasts look set for a bright future after some impressive performances.

Starlets from both Ville Gym Club and Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre shone at the Southern Region Grades competitions.

Ville girls Emily Goss (grade eight) and Catrin Tunnicliffe (grade six) scooped gold medals at the event to earn places on the Southern Region Elite team for next month’s National Club Grades competition in Birmingham.

Team-mates Frankie Hider and Bobbie Webb also made the team with good performances on beam, vault and asymmetric bars. But there will be a healthy contingent of local gymnasts heading for the midlands as Bethany Arnold, Nuala Smith and Amber Farrington (grade eight) and Leigha Ives (grade seven) will also take part.

Nine-year-old Jamie-Lee Fantham also struck gold for Ville in the compulsory grade four competition and will be joined in the south team by team-mate Ella Cummings and Portsmouth duo Leila Critchett and Amelia Rogers, who all achieved the overall pass mark to reach the elite grade.

Ville’s Maisie Lloyd-Jones also scored enough to qualify as an individual entrant.

The compulsory grade three event saw both Bethany Thurgood and Hannah Teal competing, with Thurgood qualifying in third place for the southern region team.

A Ville spokesperson said: ‘The club is extremely proud of how well the girls have done.

‘They work very hard, training five days a week and for three-four hours at a time.’

Portsmouth director of gymnastics Samantha Maggs added: ‘It’s a big deal for the gymnasts who have passed their elite grade at such a young age and also for our club.

‘The clubs all work quite closely together and there are some really good gymnasts coming through.

‘It looks good for the future of the sport in the area.’