Local teenager, Comfort Yeates, is an 18-year-old World Champion gymnast, who joined Havant Leisure Centre to build her strength in preparation for her next big tumbling competition.

Comfort says: “I love gymnastics, it brings me so much joy and feels like it has always been part of my life. I started out when I was just four years old, joining an artistic gymnastics class, and when I was 10 I started tumbling.

“Tumbling takes a lot of energy and speed, as well commitment, flexibility and strength.  It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.  But I love it! My gymnastics club, SALTO Gymnastics Club, has been so supportive over the years. I love the coaches and the sense of camaraderie there, it really helps with my confidence.”

In November 2022, Comfort attended the World Champion Competition held in Bulgaria. She says: “I was so proud to represent my country last year in the World Champion Competition and to contribute to team GB getting gold.  I was ecstatic to win the individual gold medal in tumbling too. It was amazing! I still can’t believe it!”

Comfort, who trains four to five times a week with Salto Centre Gymnastics Club, is already looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd at the World Championships being held in Birmingham later this year.

Comfort says: “My gymnastics coaches have recommended that in addition to their training sessions, I work on building my strength to help avoid injury.  I’m based in Havant, so coming along to Horizon’s Havant Leisure Centre seemed the perfect solution.  Despite my gymnastics training programme and being physically capable, starting at the gym for the first time still made me nervous. It’s a space I haven’t had much experience in, and to begin with, I was a little anxious. The machines and equipment seemed unfamiliar. But everyone at Havant Leisure Centre has been very friendly and positive, it’s a very welcoming gym. I use a mixture of weight resistance machines and equipment to gradually build the number of reps I complete.”

Comfort, who is sitting her A Levels in English, Psychology and Law in a few months time says: “It’s a big year for me!  I’m sitting my A Levels and there’s a World Champion Competition. There really isn’t a quiet moment, as I’m trying to squeeze in revision around gymnastics. But I’ve decided to defer university for a year to be able to really concentrate on my tumbling.

“I’d recommend gymnastics and tumbling to any young person. It’s not about being the best or the world champion, for me it’s so rewarding and a great release of emotions. There are lots of gymnastics classes for all ages and abilities, so give it a go!”

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