Lewes Old Grammar School‘s Daniel Bradford aims to bounce into trampolining’s top league when he makes his third bid for a podium position at the UK’s biggest schools’ competition this Spring.
The 14-year-old from Uckfield will compete on the British School Gymnastics Association (BSGA) Trampolining Championships to be held in Northern Ireland in March with a routine that keeps him airborne for a maximum of 38 seconds, including a testing new double back flip with corkscrew twists.
The Year 9 student, who’s been practising his gravity-defying routines since the age of six, training five days at week with Uckfield’s Sky High Gymnastics Academy alongside GB squad member Erifilly Heonos, is mentored and coached by former National gymnast Gail Andrews.
Last season she helped him reach sixth in the British Gymnastics Association’s (BGA’s) national trampolining finals and he also took bronze for an individual performance in the BGA’s England championships.
Mum Lynette Bradford, who will accompany Daniel to Ireland while his former training partner, brother Ben, keeps his fingers crossed at home, said: “We’re absolutely delighted Daniel has got through to this year’s BSGA finals – we’re hoping it’s going to be third time lucky! During the last 12 months, he’s just gone from strength to strength and he feels so comfortable with what he’s doing that it looks incredibly graceful.
“Trampolining isn’t all about the height of the bounce. His routine for the BSGA competition includes one voluntary and one set routine featuring 10 moves in combination – forwards and backwards somersaults with complex 360-degree twists – and he’s marked on each move and links between them. Daniel says you know when he’s got it right because it looks as though he’s performing in slow motion… Time stops when he’s at the top of a bounce.”
The Sky High Academy recently teamed up with specialist performance and wellbeing coaches to improve mobility, power, strength and stability while giving young gymnasts an all-round understanding of the importance of hydration, nutrition and recovery. LOGS, meanwhile is helping Daniel make the right academic choices for a sports-linked career.
“His favourite subjects are physics, biology and, of course, PE. He has a real hunger to understand the body biomechanics and how it works,” says Lynette. “He understands the need for strength and conditioning to ensure he’s competition ready and he’s completely focused on improving from one competition to another.”