Gym club on top of world
HUNTINGDON S famous Olympic Gym Club enjoyed World Gymnastics Championships success. Top performer for the club was once again pommel horse specialist Louis Smith, 18, who secured a bronze medal in the men s event – the biggest achievement of his career s
HUNTINGDON'S famous Olympic Gym Club enjoyed World Gymnastics Championships success.
Top performer for the club was once again pommel horse specialist Louis Smith, 18, who secured a bronze medal in the men's event - the biggest achievement of his career so far - and became the first British male to medal at the worlds for 13 years.
Smith was joined in the men's pommel final by fellow club member Daniel Keatings, just 17, who performed a superb routine to qualify for the final.
The gym club was also represented at the Championships by Huntingdon athlete Luke Folwell and Marissa King, meaning HOGC made up a quarter of the British contingent.
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HOGC head coach Paul Hall, also a Great Britain coach, said: "We went beyond our expectations as a club and a team.
"Marissa King was part of the ladies team that leapt up from 11th in the world to sixth and has well and truly marked her card for Beijing 2008.
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"As for the men, climbing to a 15th place finish from 19th guarantees two spots at Beijing next year - a supreme effort."
Smith is Commonwealth and European Champion on the pommel but Hall said success on the world stage represents an even bigger achievement.
Smith, from Eye, near Peterborough, was drawn last and knew what he had to do to secure a medal, performing a solid routine to clinch the bronze.
Chinese athlete Xiao Qin won the gold, with Krisztian Berky just ahead of Smith in the silver medal position.
Keatings, from Corby, fell during his final routine to miss out on the chance of a medal but his qualification for the pommel final means he is in pole position to join Smith on the plane to China.
The performance at the Worlds may well help the gym in its fund-raising drive to build a much-needed extension at its site in Clayton's Way.
Currently, elite gymnasts fight for time on the apparatus with users from the local community.
Trevor Low, chairman of the men's technical committee paid warm tribute to Huntingdon and coach Paul Hall, said: "This must be recognised as our best team for many years in talent, technique and stability.
"Great British men's gymnastics is on the move again and maybe we will see Louis Smith with an Olympic medal.
"A big thank you must go to Huntingdon Gym Club and Paul Hall - I salute you."
Hall added: "Everything has gone a bit crazy at the moment but it will be back to the hard work in the gym in the next few days.