Harriers pair clinch world championship medals

Bronze medal winners Kenedi Cross (left) and Vada Finniear (right) in action at the 2016 World Acrogymnastics Championships in Putian, China.

A local gymnastics club based at Patchway Sports Centre has had a major success with two of its gymnasts receiving medals at the recent Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Putian, China.

Harriers Acrobatic Gymnastics is a relatively small club which also trains at Little Stoke Primary School, but its gymnasts Kenedi Cross, aged 15, and Vada Finniear, aged 18, have made it big this year by winning a bronze medal in acro-gymnastics, which is performed in pairs with no apparatus. They were competing in the class for Mixed Pair Ages 13-19. The pair train at Harriers with their coach, Sarah Bateman.

The Journal previously reported on Kenedi and Vada in September 2015, when they competed in the European Championships in Reisa, Germany, but they were left disappointed as an injury prevented them from completing the competition. Kenedi’s mum, Teresa Cross, tells us that their club deserves recognition because “it has very limited facilities, with no sprung floor” which means Kenedi and Vada can only train around 12 hours per week, in contrast to the 20+ hours that is possible at larger clubs. Despite this, both competitors as well as their coach, Sarah Bateman, were selected for team GB this year. They were asked to trial for team GB last year due to their history of successes in national competitions, although they were unable to finish at the European Championships. About their success this year, Teresa says, “we were all ecstatic” as they “got back up to full fitness”.

The Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships involved 12 pairs competing in qualifying rounds over two days. Kenedi and Vada received the highest marks for balance, and secured fifth place to go into the finals. Teresa Cross says it was “nail biting” as they had to compete against the European Champions from Portugal.

Medal winners Kenedi and Vada said:

“We are very proud of our achievements, our coach Sarah and our club. It just goes to show that despite very limited training facilities, through sheer hard work, dedicated coaches and an amazing supportive club, dreams really can come true.”

The pair also raised some money for the event, and the funds were used mainly for their travel to China.

We spoke to coach, Sarah Bateman, who says:

“I am proud that we have produced gymnasts of world class ability. I look forward to building on this in the future with many of our talented youngsters. It’s exciting to think what we could achieve with facilities that match other clubs, and I am confident that the future is bright.”

Harriers Acrobatic Gymnastics Club is looking for premises “to enable the club to grow, raise standards and facilitate their training needs in line with other well established clubs across the country”. They would like local businesses that have premises or warehouse space to contact Sarah Bateman through the club website www.harriersacrobaticgymnastics.com

Acrogymnastics world championship bronze medalist winners Kenedi Cross (left) and Vada Finniear (right), with coach Sarah Bateman.

Photos: 1 Kenedi (left) and Vada in action at the world championships in China. [Photo credit: Paul Dawson / @poleydeepics] 2 Coach Sarah Bateman (centre) admires Kenedi’s and Vada’s bronze medals.

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.