Despite it being their first ever international competition, 11-year-old Hector Kinghorn and 13-year-old Sam Large from Tunbridge Wells pulled off the extraordinary feat of winning gold at the MIAC World Cup in Portugal on Sunday 8 March.
The two gymnasts have been training together at the Next Dimension Gymnastics Academy (NDGA) in Tunbridge Wells for just two short years.
Even before their recent win, their extraordinary athletic abilities were beginning to turn heads in the ultra-competitive world of acrobatic gymnastics.
The boys have spent the past year competing in a range of regional and national competitions, consistently winning critical acclaim along with enough trophies and gold medals to fill any display cabinet. In fact, just a week before their World Cup win, they had taken gold at the South East National Qualifiers.
Head Coach Chris Rogers, who is himself the current European acrobatic champion, said: “While this win is a phenomenal achievement, in many ways it represents just the beginning for Sam and Hector. There are lots of exciting challenges ahead for them and we must now work towards the European Championships.”
Also competing from the NDGA in their first international were women’s pair 11-year old Florence Sheppard and 14-year-old Annabel Jack. They finished a creditable ninth out of 26 women’s pairs in what is a notoriously competitive category.
Chantelle Harman, the NDGA’s Operations Manager, said: “Last year we were so proud that we our four gymnasts had qualified to compete at the MIAC World Cup. But the fact that they performed so magnificently, with Sam Large and Hector Kinghorn being placed first, and Florence Sheppard and Annabel Jack coming in the top 35% of their chosen category, has surpassed even our high expectations.”