Natalie proves the best of British in French raid

Natalie Porter of SUKI Gymnastics Club
Natalie Porter of SUKI Gymnastics Club
Kelly Simm has been selected for Team England's Commonwealth Games squad

Kelly Simm relishing Commonwealth Games return

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Natalie Porter had a weekend to remember at the French Open.

The Gosport-based talent proved herself to be the best of the British team as she finished seventh overall in the prestigious competition in Arques.

And all this after the 21-year-old faced a race to fund her European challenge.

Porter, who underlined her case for further international selection, said: ‘It was brilliant – amazing.

‘I qualified in eighth on the Friday and I didn’t know I had even made it into the finals on Saturday night until I turned up.

‘The result means I will be in a really strong position for the next national competition in Wales (June 21).

‘I’m really looking to improve on home turf to try to push my ranking up. I am looking for a good performance.’

Porter’s selection for the competition came on the back of an impressive bronze medal at the Alex Strachan Cup in February.

The SUKI Gymnastics Club head coach and choreographer was then faced with raising £600 to fund the dream trip.

Reigning The News Sports Awards coach of the year, Porter set about raising the cash and was ultimately indebted to a group of supporters who rallied around.

‘I was delighted when I learned I had been asked to represent Great Britain,’ she said.

‘I work four part-time jobs just to make ends meet, that’s on top of my training and coaching. So the extra support I received meant I could concentrate on my gymnastics.’

While preparing to go for glory in Wales, Porter – and eight club-mates – have decided to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower on Sunday, August 26, to raise much needed funds for SUKI Gymnastics Club.

Porter said: ‘Everyone is always so nice to me when it comes to fund-raising for my events, so I thought it would be nice to do something for them.

‘I’m a bit nervous. I can do heights but edgy heights off a building, I’m not so sure.’

To donate, contact Debbie Porter on 07813 349955 or (023) 9258 0273.