Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) recently hosted the Blackburn and Darwen Year 3/4 Key Steps Gymnastics competition. Key Steps is the format designed by British Gymnastics and involves three disciplines; Floor, Vault and Body Management. As part of the competition there were two separate sections – a team and an individual format. Mixed teams of five and individuals competed to qualify for the Spar Lancashire School Games in Blackpool in July.

An impressive 14 teams and eight individuals took part this year – more than double the number who were involved last year. “The standard on display was very high and it was clear to see schools had spent weeks preparing for the competition,” said School Games Organiser Andrew Mercer.

Participants were scored by judges from Blackburn & Darwen Acrobatic Gymnastics Club on all three disciplines with the top for scores counting in the team competition. St James Lower Darwen finished third with a score of 90.93 points, St Paul’s Feniscowles were a close second with 92.95 points and the 2014 team champions were St Gabriel’s with an impressive total of 93.45 points.

The individual competition is designed for those who regularly train at a Gymnastics club for two or more hours a week. “It was clear to see how many hours practice those involved in this format had completed as the stand was very high,” added Mercer.

Brooke Whittle continued St Gabriel’s success by finishing third with a score of 24.1 points, William Duffy from Avondale finished second with 24.25 points and Joshua Brown made it an Avondale ‘one-two’ with a score of 24.50 to be crowned Blackburn and Darwen Champion 2014. Joshua, William and Brooke will all progress to the Spar Lancashire School Games finals to represent the Borough in July.

Mercer said: “It was great to see around 80 Children involved in this year’s competition, more than double the number who attended last year. “Some schools have used their Sports Premium funding to bring specialist Gymnastics coaches into school, and the impact they have had was visible at the competition. “I would like to say Thank You to DACA for allowing us to use their facilities and to coaches from BwD Acro Gym Club who helped organise and run the competition. “I would like to wish pupils from St Gabriel’s and Avondale the best of look when the go to Blackpool for the Spar Lancashire School Games.

“I’m sure they will do the Borough proud.”