THE RIDGE School pupils Ryan Martin and James Williams won a stunning gold medal at the British Schools’ Gymnastics Finals.

Having performed so well at the regional competition in February, The Ridge qualified in many categories to represent the South West region in a big way at the competition.

Martin, ten, and Williams, eight, were the youngest competitors in the under-14 boys’ pairs competition but they were confident and well prepared to give it their best shot.

It is safe to say that this was the best performance the boys had ever produced but the marks for each competitor were not being displayed straight away so it was a long wait until the medal presentation before results were known. It was a huge surprise to everyone when Martin and Williams were announced as gold medallists.

The Ridge’s group also competed in the under-14 section of the competition. Brodie Shutt, Lily Clarke, Abigail Clothier, Lauren Alvis, Ryan Martin and Henry Skidmore performed their routine brilliantly and everyone was pleased and relieved that all of their work had paid off.

They were placed a magnificent seventh, which was a great result in such a high quality national competition, against gymnasts who were much older. The under-11 squad had their turn to compete the following day.

Winston Powell, eight, started the day off in the under-11 boys’ tumbling event and he completed all three of his runs without a hitch to finish eighth out of 26 competitors.

The first to compete in the pairs category were Anna Campbell and Ellise King, who performed a superb and precise routine to claim silver medals, just 0.03 points behind the winners.

This was a brilliant achievement in what is always a tough competition. Not to be outdone, the under-11 boys’ pair of Henry Skidmore and Powell also won silver.

Henry Skidmore and Ellise King narrowly missed a medal in the under-11 mixed pairs and were placed in fourth but their wonderful performance was enjoyed by the whole audience.

Anna Campbell, Rheanna Dennis, Libby Smith Robinson, Holly Stone, Ellise King and Evie Arpino Norvill were the members of the under-11 group. In this category The Ridge had been British Schools’ champions for 14 years in a row until last year when they were pipped into second place.

The team were determined to climb back into gold medal spot and worked on a difficult and complicated routine.

All was going perfectly in the performance until the last agility, which was the challenging group balance, but it didn’t hold and so the team were given a large deduction which ended their medal hopes.

Jane Mewse, who coaches the gymnastics team at The Ridge, said: “I am very proud of the whole team and I have enjoyed coaching them. “They are a fantastic group of children and have been a pleasure to work with.”

The gymnasts are now starting to train towards a display to open their Sports Day.