Huntingdon star Louis Smith boosts Olympic prospects with classy English Championships display - and youngsters also impress to win medals

Huntingdon Gymnastics Club youngsters, left to right, Niall Hooton, Josh Papworth, Ryan Cirino, Brad

Huntingdon Gymnastics Club youngsters, left to right, Niall Hooton, Josh Papworth, Ryan Cirino, Bradley Cooper and Kieron Burch at the English Championships. - Credit: Archant

Louis Smith moved a step closer to selection for a third Olympics Games at the weekend.

The Huntingdon Gymnastics Club star delivered an impressive routine when finishing second in the English Championship.

Smith scored 15.354 for his complex routine in an event won by fellow Great Britain ace and current world champion, Max Whitlock, with a 15.8 effort.

The displays of both men will only aid their claims for selection in the five-man GB team for Rio.

Huntingdon head coach Paul Hall said: “It is good to see Louis preparing well for what could well be his third Olympic Games and a chance for that elusive gold medal.”

Smith is back in action in Germany at the end of the month while clubmate and fellow Olympic hopeful, Daniel Keatings, travels to Qatar for a World Cup event in the coming days ahead of the British Championships next month.

The Huntingdon junior ranks were well-represented at the English Championships with 13 boys and four girls featuring among 200 of the best gymnasts in the country.

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Keiron Burch claimed a silver medal in the vault final at Under 12 level after also finishing 10th in the all-around competition.

Clubmate Ryan Cirino added a bronze medal on the parallel bars while Niall Hooton, Joshua Papworth and Bradley Cooper gained valuable experience of top-level competition.

In the girls’ section, Elizabeth McFarlane performed securely in the Espoir event, with Teegan Barnes and Meghan Morris showing good form in the junior category.

Lottie Smith enjoyed a fine competition in the senior event, finishing six all-around and winning the Max Sime Trophy for artistry - an honorary award for the gymnast deemed to show best form and execution throughout the competition.

Christian Norman was the sole Huntingdon gymnast in the Under 14 category, finishing a creditable 12th all around and fifth on his best piece of apparatus – the pommel.

National squad member Jake Jarman showed good style in the Under 16 event, finishing in the the top six of the all-around standings and taking fifth on both the rings and horizontal bar.

Hall added: “It was great to see so many Huntingdon gymnasts working at the English Championships, and I’m encouraged by some quality performances from some of our younger members.”