FOUR of King Edmund Gym Club’s most decorated performers are flying out to the United States next month in the hope of striking club gold – for a fourth time, writes Simon Parkinson.
Shanie-Redd Thorne, Danielle Jones, Christopher Child and Jake Underdown came through a vigorous trials and selection process at Lilleshall to gain a place in the Great Britain acrogymnastics team jetting off to the World Championships in Orlando between April 16 and 22.
Yate-based King Edmund know all about the prestigious games, having claimed gold medals in each of the past three World Championships staged every two years.
Thorne, now 15, won the top prize in 2008 with former partner Kaman Mitchell, while in 2006 Britain’s Got Talent winner Douglas Fordyce and Shelley Evans triumphed as a mixed pair in Portugal.
Underdown and Child are reigning 11-16 age-bracket champions who have been promoted to the junior 12-19 section for the forthcoming Orlando showpiece.
King Edmund head coach Nikki Thorne, who is also aboard the travelling party as a Great Britain coach for the April championships, said: “All four of our gymnasts are coming into form at the right time. They have shown tremendous dedication to their training and they have received wonderful backing from their families.
“We’re not going to put pressure on them by saying they should win their respective groups but they’re certainly capable of it.
“The two boys and Shanie-Redd have previous World Championship experience and while this will be a first for Danielle at the age of 13, she did finish fourth in the European Championships balance final in Bulgaria in October with Shanie-Redd, so she is accustomed to the big stage.”
The entire King Edmund club have rallied to support the medals bid.
Some £600 was raised to help fund the quartet’s long-haul at the White Lion Hotel in Yate, where popular local band the Funkee Monkeez performed an array of their eclectic mix of music.
“They were fantastic and the night as a whole was well supported,” coach Thorne added.
“It was great to see so many people willing our four gymnasts on in such a fun way.”