King Edmund gymnasts Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones win gold in senior women’s pairs combat at World Games
6:00am Thursday 8th August 2013 in Sport
KING Edmund Gym Club are braced for another upsurge of membership interest thanks to the stunning success of Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones at the World Games, writes Simon Parkinson.
The teenage duo, locked in senior women’s pairs combat, became the first partnership to win a gold medal for Great Britain in the spectacular acrogymnastics event at the Games, despite experiencing an alarming fall in their opening balance routine which so nearly cost them a place in the final.
Thorne, 16, from Yate, and 14-year-old Jones, from Chipping Sodbury, quickly and determinedly dusted themselves down and victory in the ensuing dynamic discipline proved just enough to secure them a spot in the combined final in third place overall. There were to be no more slip-ups as a sparkling performance when it truly mattered swept them to gold against all the odds in the face of fierce challenges from Ukraine (silver) and Belarus (bronze).
The success at Cali in Columbia – the pinnacle achievement to date in King Edmund’s illustrious 30-year history – could not have come at a more significant time. With a burgeoning membership list totalling more than 1,000 youngsters, the thriving club are in the throes of moving from the Sports Shed on Armstrong Way in Yate to the one-time bowls hall at Yate Leisure Centre, which is undergoing expansive refurbishment to the tune of around £100,000.
The new Yate International Gymnastics Centre, which is scheduled to open on September 9, promises to provide the biggest and best acrogymnastics complex in Britain, and with top domestic and international medals continuing to be won for fun by club starlets at various age levels, demand to seize membership spots is set to soar.
Head coach Nikki Thorne, who is also Shanie-Redd’s proud mum, admitted: “The club’s profile is increasing all the time and the girls’ success at the World Games can only enhance our reputation.
“It has been an emotional and draining experience but so very worthwhile, and with the infrastructure we have here at the new centre in Yate, we can only go from strength to strength. All the parents, coaches and staff have been fantastic and they deserve a lot of the credit.”
Shanie-Redd, who with Jones’ assistance clinched a bronze medal in the junior world championships in Orlando last summer, as well as two World Cup medals earlier this year, said: “It can’t get any better than this in our sport at this time, although there’s always talk about acrogymnastics becoming an Olympic sport some day.
“Our school (Yate International Academy) has been brilliant in allowing us to train twice a day and catch-up with our schoolwork at other times.
“We went on last in the final and because I’d seen the scores from the other three competing countries beforehand, I felt we had a great chance when it came to us.”
Jones added: “I really didn’t expect us to come first, especially after suffering the fall in our first routine. We thought that was it, all over, but we came back and it was incredibly exciting to win.
“In the final we performed to this fun, lively piece of music, as we had done for two years in training.
“All of the spectators started clapping and cheering and they had to turn the music up because of the noise. We didn’t know until afterwards why the crowd were so enthusiastic, as none of us had known the music was actually Columbian! It was a stroke of luck that really helped us.”
Thorne and Jones have little chance to take in the enormity of their success, though, as they are already preparing hard for the European Championships in Portugal this October.
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