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Jennah LeGrice

National finals for five Ivybridge gymnastics teams

Their success is 'down to encouraging mass participation in gymnastics, rather than pushing just the elite'

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 24, 2017 | Sports & leisure

Ivybridge Gymnastics Academy has proven its dominance in schools’ gymnastics once again, by bringing home six team medals – including five golds – from the South West Schools Floor and Vault Championships.

The exceptional results mean that the five winning teams will be making their way to the national finals in Stoke-on-Trent in May.

Gold medals were won by the Under 14 Girls team, Under 14 Mixed, Under 19 Boys, Under 19 Girls and Under 19 Mixed. Four golds were also taken by individual gymnasts with Olivia Coaker winning the overall Under 14 Girls, Danny White the Under 14 Boys, Jennah LeGrice the Under 19 Girls and Reece Parkin the Under 19 Boys.

“Ivybridge has been producing regional and national gymnastics champions for more than 15 years, but we have never rested on our laurels and we continue to go from strength to strength,” said Helen Reddy, Head of Performing Arts who runs the gymnastics academy. “This year we had 68 competition-level gymnasts competing – which is a testament to how popular and string gymnastics is at the college.” 

The huge team – which included nine teams, plus four individual primary-school gymnasts – travelled to Bideford in North Devon at the weekend to compete against schools from throughout the region. 

Our success is less about pushing our elite performers and more about encouraging mass participation in gymnastics - Helen Reddy, Head of Performing Arts

“Last year we were the most successful schools’ gymnastics team in the whole country, bringing home six medals from national finals,” added Helen. “Surprisingly, our success is less about pushing our elite performers and more about encouraging mass participation in gymnastics, though. We believe strongly in the benefits that gymnastics delivers to students of all ages and abilities, so we encourage as many students – whatever their level of ability – to come along and have a go in our extra-curricular clubs, even if it’s only for 40 minutes per week.  With so a broad base of talent we have a very strong squad to choose from.” 

The five teams and winning individual gymnasts will travel up to Stoke-on Trent in May to compete in the national finals against the best teams from throughout the rest of the UK.

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