Windebank takes gold as training pays off for Portsmouth gymnasts
JOSHUA WINDEBANK was crowned national champion as Portsmouth Gymnastics Club raised the bar on the big stage.
A talented group of young gymnasts from the Alex Way centre made the trip to Birmingham and excelled with their eye-catching performances.
In action from the men’s junior squad were Faris Akhtar, Ethan Jackson-Lowe, Connor Sullivan, Dylan Harris, Windebank and Felix Coomber, who were all representing the south region at the national grade finals.
It was Windebank and Coomber who produced the best results.
Both boys performed near perfect routines as they shone among the best gymnasts in the United Kingdom, with more than 50 regions represented.
Coomber finished a brilliant fourth place, narrowly missing out on the bronze medal by just 0.150.
Windebank also performed well, scoring a total of 65.40 out of a possible 70 points.
He was rewarded with the overall gold medal, making him national champion for level four.
These outstanding results ensured the south team finished second.
In the other age groups Akhtar finished 51st in his first elite grade national final.
Jackson Lowe was 33rd at level one, Harris was 40th and Sullivan placed 16th in level three.
In the national elite age groups championships the women’s squad had four gymnasts called up.
In level four, Kirsten Jonker produced solid routines to finish 19th.
Libby Herbert was team reserve and the south team finished third overall.
In level three, Lexi Mullins and Anais Saunders didn’t have the best of days but as a team the south pulled together to secure sixth position overall in a very high level competition.
Portsmouth (PGC) head coach Adam Paterson believes specific training has paid off with the excellent results achieved by the gymnasts.
He said: ‘These results show the strength we have, from the youngest age groups through to senior level.
‘The squad have enjoyed targeting specific competitions and we have already begun the process of building towards similar events next year.’
PGC also took a strong squad to the Czech Republic to compete in the prestigious Jiri Matchua Grand Prix.
Sam Budden, 17, Jack Helps, 15, Louis Brunnen, 15, and James Leaver, 15, lined up in the under-18 age group.
Leaver and Brunnen finished 16th and 20th respectively as they showed their good form in Prague.
Jack Helps was seventh all-around with some excellent routines, while Budden finished third and took the all-around bronze medal.
He also added a silver on floor, while Helps finished fifth in the final.
In the pommel horse final, Helps took the title with Budden fourth.
Meanwhile, Brunnen finished fourth on vault, with Helps fifth on parallel bars and Budden fifth on rings.