Xcel aces buzzing after national glory

editorial image
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

Have your say

Xcel are on a high after landing four gold medals at the National Development Plan tumbling finals in Stoke.

Tyler George, Emily Treacher, Jack Humphray and Evie Slater all topped the podium.

George stormed to victory in the age 10-11 boys’ grade two competition.

He led the rankings after each of his three runs.

Treacher showed impressive form to win the age 11-12 girls’ gold at grade two and Humphray finished joint first in grade two of the boys’ 13-plus age group.

On the second day of competition, Slater powered to victory in the girls’ 11-12 grade four competition.

Nathaniel Allman missed out on a medal.

But the gutsy ace showed plenty of skill and determination to battle back from a poor first run and earn a creditable fifth place in the boys’, 13-and-above, grade three competition.

Xcel head coach Denise Wilkinson was delighted all five of the Horndean club’s gymnasts qualified in the top eight, after the first two runs, to ensure they went on to do their third run.

She said: ‘Tyler won by almost three whole marks which is quite a lot at this level.

‘Everyone was watching him.

‘There was a bit of a buzz around him and he smashed all of his runs.

‘When Evie stepped up to do her final run on the Sunday she had posted the highest marks in the whole competition at that stage.

‘She was in the lead going into the final run so she was going last and the whole crowd cheered for her.

‘Emily qualified in third position for her final run but she then pulled herself up to win gold with a superb last effort.

‘Jack went into the final run in second position and he pulled himself up to joint first to win the gold medal.

‘To have five gymnasts qualify for the national finals is a record for us.

‘We were really pleased all five made it through into the final eight to complete their third runs.

‘Nathaniel’s second and third runs were much better than his first one.

‘They lifted him to fifth position after a bad start.

‘It was the first run that cost him a medal.

‘He was a bit disappointed but you could see he was really proud of his team-mates.’

It was a hugely successful outing for Xcel.

The gymnasts are now back in the club, working to up the difficulty levels of their tumbles.

Wilkinson added: ‘We are thrilled to bits with the way they performed in Stoke.

‘We hoped for one or two medals but we had no idea four of them would win gold.

‘They have only had access to a proper tumbling track for six months – it’s amazing how far they have come.’

Meanwhile, George combined with Jake Clark to finish second in the acrobatics national finals men’s pairs.

They were edged out for gold by only 0.1 of a point.

Callum Bungay and Alex Martin also climbed on to the rostrum as they secured bronze medals in the grade three pairs – producing the goods under pressure and adding valuable competition experience to their CVs.