Porter delighted as French fancy is dream come true

Natalie Porter in action.
Natalie Porter in action.
Kelly Simm, right, celebrates his women's beam bronze medal with Alice Kinsella, who won gold. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Simm clinches second medal at the Commonwealth Games

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Natalie Porter is all set for a French raid.

The 21-year-old will represent Great Britain early next month after winning her race for crucial funding.

Porter, who is head coach and choreographer at SUKI Aerobic Gymnastics Club in Gosport, was selected for the French Open at Arques.

However, she needed to raise a total of £600 in just two weeks to make the prestigious event which runs from May 2-7.

Thanks to generous support of an unnamed company – and further fundraising by friends and family – Porter has secured the required monies.

And now the Gosport talent is determined to make her backers proud – with the assistance of her tight-knit team at SUKI.

‘I’m training as normal and everything is going really well,’ said Porter, who pocketed a bronze medal at the Alex Strachan Cup at Rivermead Centre in Reading back in February.

‘The support I have received has been wonderful – I am so grateful.

‘It will be a good team event to compete in.

‘I have my squad, who I train with every month, to support me.

‘They are extremely helpful as we all support each other. It’s useful for all the gymnasts at the club.

‘We all have different roles and can help each other in different areas.’

Porter faced an agonising wait to see if she would be picked to wear the Great Britain vest.

As time passed, her hopes of getting the nod were beginning to fade only for a letter to then arrive from the selectors.

But the celebrations were soon tempered by the news of the £600 bill.

With that now settled, though, she can focus on giving her all for Great Britain.

And it’s a dream come true for the gymnast who took up the sport at the age of seven.

‘I first started when a friend of mine invited me to an open day and I haven’t looked back since,’ said Porter.

‘I owe so much to Su Killeen (the coaching director at SUKI).

‘She has supported me through thick and thin since I first started.’