11-16 Age Group World Championships

What did you want to be when you were a child? A teacher, Doctor or Actor maybe? I bet none of you said I want to be an Acrobatic World Champion, especially with Acrobatics not receiving the recognition other disciplines receive, it would be hard to imagine. I bet our gymnasts did not imagine this as an ambition either.

However, when these children stepped foot into the gym and their potential was realised I am sure their goals for their future gymnastics career rapidly started to change. The sheer hard work and determination of all these young gymnasts has brought them to this stage. All of the blood, sweat and tears was about to become worth it, a chance to compete for the ultimate title.

Last week 8 of our gymnasts flew to Belgium to try and make their dreams of becoming a World Champion a reality. These young gymnasts kicked off the competition with the 11-16 age group category. I am sure each and every one of them had the inner desire to want to be World Champion, but with a lot of talent gracing the stage the best thing they could do was enjoy the experience, the world class company they stood amongst, and do their absolute best- counting a medal position as a bonus, the icing on the cake if you will.

Podium training went well, all gymnasts coping well with the pressure of what was to come. I think the nerves came from the coaches, parents and supporters! A huge team came along to support our 8 superstars, arriving bright and early on day one of qualifications. A long day of sitting in a sporting arena, something we are all used to, however this time there were definitely no complaints- I mean, it was the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!

Day one was kicked off with the boys, our Men’s Four and Men’s Pair competing their first routines of the day. Both doing superb, going against some of the world’s best; Israel, Belgium and Russia to name a few. The Men’s Four finishing in 3rd place after their first routine and the Men’s Pair in 1st place. So far so good! Next up was our Women’s Pair, the dynamic duo of Sasha and Poppy. A lot more weight sitting on their shoulders when stepping on to the floor. As current European Champions and as a partnership everyone expects to do well- as they have been unstoppable ever since day one! NO PRESSURE! Yet again they showed us why they are unstoppable, they launched to 1st place after a very tough category of 40 partnerships.

The afternoon was time for the boys once more. Both stepping up to perform their second routine of the day. Andrew and Archie came out to try and retain the Gold position they were sat in, to set them up well for finals, and that they did. Another clean and solid routine kept them in first place – a huge achievement!

The Men’s Four; Bradley, Jack, Jake and Harry stepped out to perform their balance routine. After a slightly nervous start in the morning they performed a much cleaner and more polished performance. Two routines down and maintaining 3rd place to put them comfortably through to finals.

Day two started with Sasha and Poppy, their second routine in the qualification rounds- Tempo. This was slightly more nerve wracking, although we have seen them perform it perfectly so many times, an error at the British made us sit on the edge of our seats.. praying for a clean routine and a chance to make the finals. That they did- for many in the crowd, it was the first time experiencing Ellie Coopers dramatic and controversial piece to Marilyn Manson, we all loved it but would the judges? It seemed they did.. 28.350 putting them 1st out of 40 and more importantly through to finals with the boys in the evening.


The emotion experienced at the games for everyone was different although everyone wanted the same result. As a coach you feel proud, seeing your gymnasts grow and develop over many years to finally have a shot at the ultimate goal. The feeling of a parent is slightly different, the obvious overwhelming sense of proudness mixed with the anxiety, happiness, tears and fear all rolled into one. We were all there in the evening ready for a nervous wait, waiting for each performance and praying for a clean finish.

Finals were kicked off with the Men’s Four. These four boys all of whom have been at the club several years, working their way up through various recreational and squad groups to become part of the elite squad. Performing together for a while now, they have shown continual improvement and development to get them to the point they are now. THE WORLD STAGE. These boys always are in the company of very talented gymnasts from the UK and beyond, so to be picked for Worlds and to make it to the finals is a huge achievement. Finals for the boys was tempo, a chance to better their nervous performance from day one. A clean and entertaining routine proved they were one of the best in the world. Finishing with a Bronze Medal! Russia first with 27.500, Kazakhstan second with 27.300 (but a higher execution score) and SPELTHORNE third with 27.300 also! Words cannot describe the emotion of the coaches and parents, immensely proud of a medal on the world stage against countries known to be the best in the world. Other countries having higher difficulty but still our boys finishing only marginally behind. We could not have asked for more.

Andrew and Archie our 11-16 Men’s Pair have had great role models in the gym with many Men’s Pairs from Spelthorne gracing World stages previously. For Andrew and Archie, a young pair in their category they have achieved so much in a short time. The sheer determination of both boys has seen their skill and difficulty increase in a relatively short time frame. Current silver medallists at the European Championships, they have already shown they mean business. Qualifying in first place, showing us they can perform a world winning routine.  So finals and their dynamic routine, a favourite of the crowd was performed confidentially and put them in first place with Russia and Israel still to go. Although the boys qualified in first place, we knew it was still to play for-  crowd pleasing and more difficult routines meant Israel and Russia took Gold and Silver.  A gutting feeling for the boys, they performed to their absolute best but had to settle for 3rd place. However, let us not forget, this wasn’t just any 3rd place, it was 3rd place at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Nothing to frown about. To sit amongst the best company in the world and to be able to say you are a bronze medallist with A LOT more still to give in the future is a huge achievement, one we are all very proud of. Congratulations boys you were superb.

Our final partnership Sasha and Poppy. Names I think everyone recognises now. Working together for five years, Sasha transferring from competing as a top to starting from scratch competing and learning to work as a base at beginner level with Poppy.

Five years ago, they started as prep level gymnasts competing cheeky routines with music such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Gold winning routines even then setting a precedent to follow. In a way putting more pressure on their shoulders, with everyone’s expectations always so high. These two, show sheer determination in the gym, always pushing their upper limits, to be the best they can be. They perform as one, timing always impeccable, mood and emotion always capturing the audience and judges, and not forgetting the skill and landings of all moves- allowing this precedent of gold winning performances to continue. They have many titles to their names. Winning at national and international level, earning medals at the British, International Acro Cups and most recently the title of European Champions. We all knew they were the best but just as the British in February showed us, one error could be the difference between all or nothing. A Tempo final for the girls, another chance to show off their trend setting rock routine. Also, a chance to show the world they were worthy winners and could compete a clean routine. We could not be prouder of these two, GOLD MEDALLISTS AT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. The icing on the cake for a pair that have worked endlessly to retain the title of unstoppable.

All three partnerships are true champions and Spelthorne coaches, parents and fellow gymnasts all stand together in congratulating them on what has been an emotional journey. All these gymnasts are role models for our younger gymnasts. Believe in your coach and yourself and one day you could also follow in their footsteps!

Now time to share with you the success, journeys and celebrations of all our superstars with you.


And just because we can, here are the amazing videos from the finals, for you to enjoy over and over!



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