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Starlets put on a great floor show; Gym kids celebrate national title success.

NINETEEN youngsters from Durham's Deerness Valley Gymnastics Academy have returned from the National Championships with medals. Seven gold, four silver and four bronze medals were won by the young acrobatic gymnasts and tumblers, aged between eight and 16.

Less than six months after taking over the running of Deerness Leisure Centre, the Deerness Gymnastics Academy also celebrated its best results in the Acrobatic and Tumbling Regional Championships.

The 42 medals achieved have now been translated into 15 at national level.

Deerness' Acro-Gymnastics National Finals medal winners were: NDP One - Oliver Hillman and Louis Baxter (men's pair, bronze): NDP Two - Alice Kitchen, Caitlin Owston and Evie Field (women's group, gold) and Daniel Kitchen and Nathan Brady (men's pair, silver).

The tumblers who claimed medals at the national finals were: NDP boys under-13s - David Richardson (gold): Elite One girls 11-12 - Amy Jeff (bronze): Elite One boys 11-12 - Sam Stafford (gold): Elite Two boys 10-12 - Oliver Herring (gold): Elite two boys 13-14 - Kristian Atkinson (silver).

Elite two girls 15+ - Hope Rackstraw (bronze): Elite three girls 10-12 - Casey Coxon (silver): Elite three girls 10-12 - Lauren Said (bronze).

Elite three boys 13-14 - Jonathan Morgan (gold): Elite four girls 11-12 - Shanice Davidson (gold): Elite four boys 15+ - Sam Dronsfield (gold): Elite four boys 15+ - Zack Willis (silver).

Deerness tumblers will now account for a quarter of all national finalists, with 25 of the 100 competitors at the forthcoming Age Group British Championships coming from their ranks.

The tumbling club are going from strength to strength and 13 members have been selected to represent Team GB at two international events later this year in Portugal and Bulgaria, with a further four named as reserves.

Glen Wharton, head of tumbling at Deerness, will be representing Team GB as a coach.

Karl Wharton, director of gymnastics, said: "This is fantastic news and a great opportunity for the club.

"Many of these gymnasts represent the next generation who will hopefully go on to follow in the footsteps of our world and European champions.

"The men's senior team's world title was fully deserved and proved how far you can go through dedicated work and discipline.

"Championships such as this one are a very important part of developing a gymnast, gaining them the experience, skills and confidence to succeed in this sport.

"The tumblers are also building on the recent gold medal success in the European Championships and it is great for the future of the club we have so many youngsters gaining recognition at national and international level.

The club took over the running of Deerness Gymnastics Academy in 2011 following the closure of Deerness Leisure Centre by Durham County Council.

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VALLEY GOOD EFFORT Deerness Valley Gymnastics Academy's National Championship medal winners
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 13, 2012
Words:453
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