A group of six of the island’s male gymnasts travelled to Ilford recently to take part in one of the biggest events in the men’s gymnastics calendar.

The Manx Gymnastics Centre of Excellence members were taking part in the Areas Aviation Challenge, a category within the Men’s London Open competition.

Almost 400 gymnasts took part in the event over the weekend at the Jean Brown Arena – quite an experience for the Manx contingent who were mostly debutants at the event.

All six of the Isle of Man gymnasts performed with confidence and composure in front of the large crowd, but the standout performance of the weekend went to seven-year-old Ryan Hampton from Douglas who returned to the island with a bronze medal for his vault.

With gymnasts competing in four different age categories, it was a busy day for travelling coach Jiong Qi.

First up on the competition floor was Jacob Wright in the under-nines category.

In his first off-island competition, Jacob performed well and improved on many of his previous best scores.

In the same round, the under-10 contingent of Aidan Hampton, Martin Djusko and George Graham delivered a series of controlled routines, resulting in each of them achieving some good scores and also gaining numerous personal bests on many pieces.

This was the largest category in the competition with almost 50 competitors. It was also the first off-island competition for Aidan and George, both of whom managed to keep their nerves under control to compete confidently throughout.

Also competing in the first round in his first competition outside the Isle of Man was Ryan Hampton. The youngest of the Manx gymnasts, Ryan was competing in the under-eights category.

In an incredibly successful debut, Ryan managed an impressive three top-10 finishes.

He secured ninth place for his pommel with a score of 10.000, fifth place for his floor with a score of 11.100 and third place for his vault with a score of 11.100 which also rewarded him with a bronze medal – a fantastic achievement.

Later in the afternoon there was another impressive top-10 finish from Max Cairnie in the under-12s category.

Displaying composed performances on all of his pieces, it was his vault score of 11.000 that ranked him a very well-deserved seventh place.

All six boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience and soaked up the atmosphere. They were all wonderful ambassadors for Manx Gymnastics Centre of Excellence, receiving numerous compliments for their performance both on and off the gym floor.

Special thanks to the men’s coaching team at MGCE for preparing the boys for the competition and to Jiong Qi for travelling with the team.