Champion year for Portsmouth Gymnastics club

Portsmouth Gymnastics Club celebrated a host of impressive achievements in a shortened 2021.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 9:31 am
Louie Pinhorne. Picture: Mike Cooter
Louie Pinhorne. Picture: Mike Cooter

The squad, based at Alex Way, had a very busy year despite only being allowed back to training in April after the third national lockdown.

The first notable achievement arrived in September when Felix Coomber, 17, became a British champion. His high difficulty floor routine saw him win gold in Cardiff where he also finished second on the Vault and fourth all around in the Junior category.

James Carmichael, Connor Sullivan and James Leaver also impressed at the prestigious event with Leaver finishing in the top eight on Rings.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

James Leaver on the Rings. Picture: Mike Cooter

On the back of their performances in Wales and subsequent trial, Coomber and Leaver represented England at the Northern European Championships.

Returning to Cardiff, Coomber qualified for the Vault final (finishing seventh) while Leaver qualified for both the Rings (fifth) and Parallel Bars (seventh) finals.

Around the same time, 11 Portsmouth gymnasts representing the South region travelled to Telford to compete in the National Grades finals.

Kieran Harris, Jenson Redman and Leo Swann all competed well in their first elite national competition, helping their team claim bronze.

Medal winners (from left) Louie Pinhorne (11), Felix Coomber (17) and Jake Palmer (12). Picture: Mike Cooter

Jake Palmer, 12, was aiming to be reselected onto the Great Britain squad. He didn’t disappoint, competing solidly across seven apparatus to take the overall bronze medal and book himself a place on the national testing day.

Copnor-based Louie Pinhorne, 11, was the real surprise of the day. He enjoyed a brilliant competition over the seven pieces of apparatus to be crowned National Elite champion, also earning himself a place on the testing day.

Both Palmer and Pinhorne continued to perform on a high level, scoring highly at the testing day and winning selection for the 2022 Great Britain Development squad.

‘This is a great achievement to have two boys on such a high level team,’ enthused Adam Paterson, Head of Performance gymnastics at PGC.

Felix Coomber, 17, on the Pommel Horse. Picture: Mike Cooter

‘We really are very proud of what’s been achieved in a particularly challenging year.’

Jake Palmer, 12, on the Bars. Picture: Mike Cooter
The Portsmouth Gymnastics Boys squad. Back (from left) James Leaver (20), Louie Pinhorne (11), James Carmichael (15), Jake Palmer (12), Felix Coomber (17). Middle: Jenson Redman (9), Blake Lindop (9), Leo Swann (9), Ntaniel Stigkatsi (8), Kieran Harris (9), Harry Taylor (9). Front: Bertie O'Sullivan (11), Zak Jones (10), Henry Drackett (11), Jack Sheen (11), Elijah Robinson (11), Duro Houghton (11), Xander Barnett-Brown (11).