December 9 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 7, 2013
Many youngsters dream of one day representing their country –and for one Norfolk teenager it has become a reality.
Gymnast Owen Stannard, 14, will be heading to Bulgaria for the Tumbling World Championships in November after being selected for Team GB.
Owen, from King’s Lynn, will compete against the best tumblers in his age range from around the world and he hopes the experience will set him on the path of a professional athlete. “It has always been my dream to be part of Team GB,” said Owen, “now that I’ve got there it still hasn’t really sunk in. I would love to get a medal but just by getting there I am really proud.
“This year I competed in the British championships at the NEC Arena in Birmingham and I came fifth which I was pleased about. That was the first time I’ve been to the British championships.
“I think what makes me a good tumbler is my power, determination and competitiveness.
“I am also very positive, which you have to be in gymnastics.”
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.
Owen, who lives on Orchard Grove, West Lynn, has begun coaching at King’s Lynn Gymnastics Club, which he has been part of since he was five years old. He hopes his success could help to raise the profile of tumbling in the future.
“I started when I was five, I came to an open day at Lynnsport and really enjoyed it. In the future I’d like to carry on and hopefully become European or World champion. After that I’d like to become a coach for Team GB.
“Not many people know about tumbling, which is a shame.
“It isn’t an Olympic sport but I hope that one day it will be. They have applied for it alongside trampolining.”
While the St Clement’s High School pupil is eager to rise to the top, he is quick to acknowledge the support of his coaches and fellow gymnasts at King’s Lynn Gymnastics Club who he describes as a big family.
Owen is also grateful to his family who have taken him to training each week and around the country to compete when necessary. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” he said. “My parents are over the moon about the World Championships. They are really happy and have always been supportive.”
It is not just Owen’s parents who are thrilled at the news his coaches are also delighted at his achievement. Head tumbling coach Trudi Nicholson, who is hoping to travel to Bulgaria to see Owen compete, said: “It is a fantastic achievement. The club has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and we are really proud of what we have achieved.
“Owen is 100pc committed, he listens and he tries really hard all the time. He is a pleasure to coach, you know he will take on board what you tell him.”
Owen’s has strong sporting stock with dad Anthony Stannard having played football for a number of clubs in the area, while grandfather Lacey Stannard was a well known boxer in the west Norfolk during the 1960s and older brother Luke, 17, plays golf for the county. Mr Stannard said: “We are immensely proud. It took a lot of hard work to get there. If you don’t put time in you won’t get anywhere.”
Owen will have to cut short a family holiday to Florida to attend a Team GB training camp in Lilleshall, Shropshire, but the high flying teenager won’t let anything get in his way of getting to the top.