Dynamic gymnastics duo flip their way to British Open glory

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Holding a handstand is tough enough, so imagine trying it one-handed, oh and on someone else’s head!

Pictured are young Horsham gymnasts George Steere, 15, and Ben Ratcliffe, 11, doing just that as only one part of their routine which earned them a fabulous bronze medal at the British Open.

The rather unusual sport is acro gymnastics, and over two days in Stoke the dynamic duo - who have trained together at the Horsham Gymnastics Centre at the Pavilions for more than two years - put in some stunning displays against the best in the country to take a medal in the 11-16 age group.

Performing two types of synchronised floor routines, one dynamic and one balance, they included a host of twists and front flips. But, with George as the anchor at the bottom, the most eye-catching aspect of what they do is the way Ben is lifted, spun and balanced spectacularly in mid air.

“It was amazing to win a medal at the British because we’ve both worked so hard for it so it made it all worthwhile,” said George, a pupil at The Weald who dislocated his thumb playing rugby just weeks before the competition.

“We were lying fifth overall after the first day so personally I didn’t think we’d get a medal, but we pretty much nailed the final routine.”

Both have been involved in gymnastics for a number of years, but since pairing up two and a half years ago the duo haven’t looked back.

“Even though Ben’s a few years younger we’re great friends and that’s crucial because he has to trust that I won’t drop him,” George continued. “Ben was absolutely delighted to come third and now he knows what he’s capable of under real pressure.”

Ben, who is in Year 7 at Forest School, added: “When we found out that we had won the Bronze medal, it felt amazing. We were unable to celebrate too loud, as the other mens pair we were in joint third place with were standing next to us, we felt sad for them. It’s great that all our hard work in training paid off.”