On Friday 10thMay, Head Coach Heather and George Harvey from our MAG (Men’s Artistic Gymnastics) squad took the long journey up to Ipswich for the Pipers Vale Challenge and Cup.
George, who’s only 13, was competing in his first U16 competition. To add to the occasion, he was up against gymnasts from clubs such as Leeds and Newcastle who are known for producing Team GB stars – but that didn’t faze him.
He had a remarkable day scoring consistently on all the piece’s, bar one. The pommel. This could be argued as one of his stronger pieces but unfortunately he fell off in the heat of battle.
Though falling off, George still found himself in a strong 10thposition once all the scores were collated and he also marginally missed out on a medal position on the parallel bars.
This is a magnificent achievement amongst some of the country’s best up and coming gymnasts. It’s a true credit to George, the squad and our coaches for pulling this off with minimal hours and just 4 out of the 6 apparatus currently in our gym.
George Harvey said:“Pipers vale was a great competition and I’ve gained some key experience competing in the U16 for the first time.
I am very proud to represent Worthing Gymnastics Club who have supported me to compete at this level and I am grateful to everyone for their support.”
Heather Sampford said:“What an outstanding result for George who was unlucky not to be placed higher! Brilliant to think what he and our other gymnasts could achieve with access to all the equipment regularly.
That said, this result means the boys programmes are running tremendously and, for the first time, there wasn’t a significant dip in the scores for High Bar and Rings which we have access to once a week thanks to our friends at Hawth Gymnastics Club.”
Amongst the many marvellous members of all ages and abilities at Worthing Gymnastics Club, one is using the strength, balance and agility gained from his sessions to reach new mountainous heights.
Charlie Lane joined the club when he was 6 years old and even as a young chap, his positive attitude and daring approach saw him achieve new skills and win regional medals. He continued the same manner and transferred the techniques gained from gymnastics to snowboarding and at just 11 years old, he’s already making a name for himself.
Snowboarding is somewhat a family tradition in the Lane family but with natural talent and strong ambition, Charlie soon took his passion to the next level.
In 2015, he joined the British Ski and Snowboard Academy based in Austria and began his pursuit to turning pro alongside future Olympic snowboarders and skiers. After a full winter season away developing his skills, tricks and fitness, at just 8 years old, Charlie was deservingly awarded an elite athlete status by the Great Britain Snowboarding Team.
Charlie returned with a solid foundation of skills and tricks and entered many of the UK indoor and dry slope events. He started splendidly with a win at ‘Junior Jam’, an U12s competition in Hemel Hempstead and also won both the Big Air Series and Air Attack Slopestyle at Chill Factor in Manchester.
These achievements lead him to become both English and British National U12 Indoor Slopestyle Champion in 2016.
Pushing The Pro’s
In the winter of 2016 he entered The Brits held at Laax, Switzerland. These are the UK’s National Championships for Snowboard and Ski and at just 10 years old, he became the Under 12s Champion in Slopestyle, Big Air and Boardercross racing.
In some of the events at these championships, Charlie’s scoring was so high he featured in the adult standings – 5th for Halfpipe and 7th in Big Air. A great achievement amongst top professional snowboarders which included Billy Morgan who went on to get a Bronze at the last Winter Olympics in South Korea.
If 2016 wasn’t already a bumper year, he also went into 2017 as a record breaker – the youngest Brit by nearly two years to complete a backflip – we wonder where he got that from.
Charlie loves his sport and what the hard work brings, he’s always demonstrated good sportsmanship and being humble of his ability but there was one stand out testimony to his kind nature at the 2018 German & Austrian Nationals.
In the judging of the Under 12s, there was a mix up. Charlie had won the event but the boy who performed second best wasn’t even on the podium. The coaches realised the mistake during the ceremony and appealed to the judges who then appropriately adjusted the standings.
This meant the current boy placed third was to hand back his medal, gifts and prize money and leave the podium.
Astonishingly, Charlie refused the sponsored gifts and prize money and insisted that all four boys should stay on the podium. He was more than happy only to be crowned the Austrian and German National champion with the trophy. This act of selflessness gave the boy in fourth the chance to be part of the presentation at the top step with Charlie who took him up their.
Amongst The World’s Best
In the 2017/2018 winter season, Charlie participated at the Valley Ralley Series, a regional slopestyle competition held over four weekends in Austria. He won three of the four events and was crowned King of the Mountain and left as the number one European slopestyle rider in u12s.
Still aged 11, Charlie was entered into the prestigious World Rookie Tour, an Under 16 international event also known as the breeding ground for future Olympians and professional snowboarders.
Charlie had to first pass regional qualification against Europe’s best riders and he did in fine form qualifying in 8th position.
The finals were held in Austria which saw 90 entrants from the top snowboarding nations around the globe including Japan and America. Charlie was the youngest competitor there and battled superbly to secure a credible 15th spot.
And to finish a brilliant season, Charlie came 2nd in the German SBX Trophy and finished as the number one u12s snowboarder in the TTR World Rankings made up of the worlds professional snowboarders.
Back in Blighty
Charlie returned home from the slopes in the summer and caught up with family, friends and of course school work. But this didn’t stop his fitness training and attending gymnastics. After a short stop, in October, Charlie headed back to Austria to prepare for this forthcoming long winter away.
No one saw these remarkable achievements coming but they haven’t come without the sacrifice of spending many months away from his family – a true testament to this young man’s character who’s making us all immensely proud.
Training at WGC in the Summer and out on the slopes and tubes all over Europe during the Winter, Charlie and his loyal and super-supportive parents and older brother Ben have developed what seems to be a winning combination.
But things haven’t always been easy for Charlie and his family, especially over the last few years, but their positive outlook, motivation and drive has seen them on the up and Charlie as one to watch in the future as an ambassador for both gymnastics and snowboarding.
Competition season is underway and Worthing Gymnastics Club has been reaping the rewards of a dedicated training programme developed over the year to secure a haul of 12 medals altogether so far.
South East Regional Qualifiers
The Men’s Artistic Gymnastic (MAG) squad competed at the MAG South East Regional Qualifiers for a place in the team to represent the region against the rest of Britain.
In the level three category we saw George Harvey finishing with a flourish in 2nd to earn silver and a place in the squad. During the same session but in the level 4 category Dan Vallance triumphantly secured a place in the team after coming top of his group out of age with gold.
Next up we saw George Ferris and Alfie Skinner competing for places in the level 2 category where George landed 4th spot and a space to represent the region but Alfie marginally missed out following a solid performance to come 6th as a reserve.
The national development grades will take place in Birmingham where the boys will perform on six pieces of apparatus, each different to the other and requiring a combination of strength, mobility, endurance, flexibility, body control and co-ordination.
South East Regional Advanced Floor & Vault Competition
The advanced floor & vault team all medalled in their respective age groups at the South East Regional Advanced Floor & Vault Competition. Finlay Rolfe and Morgan Caulkin lead the way with golds, Ben Reeves secured silver and Oscar Rolfe and Eoin Robertson both brought home bronze.
Pegasus Invitational Floor & Vault Competition
At the Pegasus Invitational Floor & Vault Competition the intermediate squad started splendidly with Charlie Kriel grabbing gold and Harry Skinner coming second with silver.
Then came the girls, Ruby Miles battled for a 5th place rosette and Merle Skyes won silver. More stellar performances came from Isabelle Rodgers who won gold and Zita Ridgett taking home bronze – both also received awards for the highest score on floor.
Heather Sampford, Head Coach & Founder, commented: “Historically, our focus has been on competitive boys gymnastics which still remains strong and dynamic. Following the development of our newly qualified coaching team and leadership academy scheme we’re now able to extend these opportunities to our girls section who are having just as much success.”