Nine Richmond gymnasts to compete at the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships

A team of nine gymnasts from Richmond will compete at the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, the sport’s first international competition since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

The gymnasts, all part of the London Richmond Gymnastics Association, are glad to be competing together at the World Championships in Geneva next month, where they will face opponents from more than 40 nations across three age categories.

The team’s achievement has been celebrated at the community club, which is known for excellence in the sport as well as dedication to the community, as they support gymnasts with physical and special educational needs.

KEEPING BALANCE: A pair train at the Townmead Road training centre. Credit: Richmond Gymnastics Association.

Kyla Cook, 23, who will compete in the women’s group event, said: “I love competing because of the adrenalin you get and being able to do things that other people can’t.

“With my disabilities, it’s really helped increase my social skills.”

The year has not come without its challenges, with the Richmond gymnasts learning to handle multiple lockdowns when they could not train normally.

The gymnasts understand the sport not only brings benefits in terms of technical proficiency or physical development, but also improves their mental wellbeing, self-esteem and leadership skills.

Anisa Arumugam, 12, will compete as mixed pairs with Toby Cooper-Driver, 14.

She said: “Richmond is very important because everyone has grown together from when they were younger to get all these opportunities at the gym.

“The club is very supportive with everything you do. I like how you’re able to learn a lot of new things every day.

“Everyone is friends here! You grow as a person and meet different people at the gym.”

HARD WORK: Anisa and Toby train together ahead of June’s competition. Credit: Richmond Gymnastics Association.

According to British Gymnastics performance director James Thomas, the event will be an opportunity for the athletes to test their skill against the best gymnasts in the world.

He added: “Congratulations to all of the gymnasts and coaches on their selection.”

The Acrobatic Gymnastics World Age Group competition and World Championships will take place from 23rd June to 4th July, with Britain represented in the women’s pair, men’s pair, mixed pair, women’s group and men’s group events.

Featured image credit: Richmond Gymnastics Association

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