Gymnasts do region proud with performance at World Games

Jake Phelan.
Jake Phelan.

Top marks wasn’t enough to land South Tyneside acrobat gymnast Jake Phelan his dream of gold medal at a prestigious international competition.

Jake, a student at South Tyneside College, narrowly missed out on a place in the final of The World Games - despite proving his skill at executing his moves.

Jake Phelan and Michael Hill in action.

Jake Phelan and Michael Hill in action.

The Team GB star and his partner Michael Hill gained the highest score for the way they put into practice one of their two routines.

Their score of 17.700 for executing their dynamic routine, inched them ahead of rivals China, Israel, Belgium, Russia and Germany in the qualifying round.

But the stunning display was not enough to secure a place in the overall final when judges’ marks across both competition disciplines were combined.

Despite being edged into fifth spot, Jake, a Level 3 BTEC sports student at the college, and Michael, say they are delighted with their performance.

Jake, 17, of Bridlington Parade, Hebburn, said: “We did really well and competing at the World Games was a great experience.

“It was fantastic to see the best acrobats, and it has certainly given me a push to work even harder.

“Taking part in the games has also given me valuable experience for next time.”

Acrobatic gymnastics does not feature at the Olympics, so the World Games is considered the discipline’s biggest annual competition.

It features 27 sports, including parachuting, archery, boules, handball and karate, and is also the world’s largest annual multi-sport event.

Jake and Michael competed in two routines – dynamic and balance, which includes throws, somersaults and twists – being judged for difficulty, execution and artistry on each.

Although they scored highly, gaining marks of 27.39 for dynamic, where they gained top execution marks, and 27.64 for balance, they fell just .4 short of fourth placed China.

Coach Ian Said, who trains them at South Tyneside Gymnastics Club, based at Temple Park Centre, South Shields, said: “They did exceptionally well and exceeded expectations.

“They performed two really clean routines - gaining the best score in execution in the dynamic routine is a sign of just how impressive they were.

“No one could have asked that they competed any better – I’m very proud of them.”

Jake and Michael prepared for the World Games, which took place in Wroclaw, Poland, by training for around 22 hours each week.

They now aim to qualify for Team GB at October’s European Championships.

Jake’s long-term ambition is to work with world-famous theatrical entertainment troupe Cirque du Soleil.