A GROUP of boys from Basingstoke Gymnastic Club went to London’s Europa Centre to take part in the annual London Open Champion-ships, a prestigious national competition open to male artistic gymnasts from under-eight to senior national squad standard.

On the first day of the event, members of the national squad entered the event. They were a great inspiration for the young Basingstoke boys who went to watch the senior competition before meeting the gymnastic superstars for photographs and autographs following the medal presentation ceremony hosted by Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith.

The following day it was the Basingstoke boys’ chance to get into action and first up was the under-eight level one out-of-age group.

53 gymnasts from all over Britain had to perform on all men’s artistic apparatus, including the floor, vault, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bar.

Basingstoke was represented by four boys, all in their first-ever national event, with Toby Splain coming second on the parallel bars with a score of 9.20 and finishing 10th overall with a total score of 51.90.

Rowan Deakin followed in 14th with an overall score of 51.25, which included fourth place on the floor with a score of 9.40.

In the same age group, Toby Woods finished 31st with a total of 48.30 and Oliver Whiles was 42nd with 45.30, both demonstrating vast improvements from their last competition.

Following the out-of-age, it was the turn of the under-eight level one-in-age-group to compete.

Basingstoke’s Owen Hastings did very well in his first national event to finish in 25th place with a total of 47.55.

Nicholas MacKay, with 44.60 points, was 45th and Oliver Buckley completed his day with 43.5 in 48th place.

Next to compete was the under-nine level two age group. Basing-stoke’s Josh Kershaw finished sixth on pommel horse with a score of 9.00 points to come 36th overall with a score of 46.00.

In the under-10 level three, Peter Robinson represented Basingstoke and finished his day with 38.05 points in 20th place.

To complete the day in the under-12 level four age group was Issa Kalfon, who just missed out on the bronze medal on the floor exercise with a score of 8.95, finishing 18th overall with 45.45.

Teammate Alex Stanley was in 20th place with a total score of 45.25.