A dream come true for Lynn gymnast Owen as he takes part in world championships

Gymnast Owen Stannard (14) has been picked for the GB tumbling team. Picture: Ian Burt
Gymnast Owen Stannard (14) has been picked for the GB tumbling team. Picture: Ian Burt

Monday, December 30, 2013
9:28 AM

It has been a great end to a ‘dream’ year for one King’s Lynn gymnast when he represented Team GB at the Tumbling World Age Group Competitions in Bulgaria.

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Owen Stannard, 14, become the first member of King’s Lynn Gymnastics Club to compete for Team GB when he took part in the world championships in November.

Owen, who lives in West Lynn, finished a respectable sixth place in the final of his first international competition.

Now the youngster is setting his sights on a place at the European Championships and is hoping one day to compete in the Olympics if the sport is introduced to the games.

“It was amazing,” said St Clements High School student Owen. “I thought it would be like the British Championships but it was totally different. The atmosphere was just incredible.

“I didn’t feel nervous. With so many people cheering for you it really helped because you had their support.

“It was a dream come true really.”

Next up for Owen is a Team GB training camp in Denmark in February as he prepares for the tough qualification process for the European Championships.

He has also begun to train in Wakefield to take advantage of the larger track.

With trips across the country and abroad it has become an expensive hobby for proud parents Wendy and Anthony Stannard.

Mr Stannard said: “We are looking for some sponsorship for Owen as there isn’t really any funding available in the sport.

“Denmark is going to cost £600 and taking him to Wakefield every week is going to add up.

“With the progress he is making he needs to be going to these places.”

Tumbling is an acrobatic sport which sees gymnasts compete by carrying out a routine of eight elements, known as a pass, along a 25m track. This usually includes a number of somersaults and twists and points are scored for the execution and difficulty of a pass.

While Acrobatic gymnastics is already part of the Olympics Tumbling is not currently an Olympic sport, although there are hopes that the sport could be included in time for the Tokyo games in 2020.

Tumbling’s profile is rising with the new world champion Kristof Willerton, crowned in Sofia, from Great Britain and a mention at BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

Owen said: “I hope it becomes an Olympic sport. They are showcasing it at Rio to possibly put it in for Tokyo in 2020.

“So hopefully I can make it to both games. That is the dream to perform at the Olympics.”

If you can help to sponsor Owen contact Mr Stannard at antstannard5@hotmail.com

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