Gymnast star of the future needs your help

By Laura Maltby Friday 26 October 2012 Updated: 26/10 08:47

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Buy photos » Philip with Olympic bronze medal gymnast Kristian Thomas who also trains at Earls in Halesowen. (s)

BUDDING gymnast Philip Harrison is just nine-years-old and already one to watch for the future - but needs funding to help make his dreams a reality.

Following a spectacular summer of sport, the Kenilworth youngster is the kind of talent Lord Sebastian Coe was hoping to unearth when he set out to 'inspire a generation'.

Philip became involved in gymnastics at an even younger age than he is now after watching older brother Richard take up the sport.

Now he competes in six individual disciplines: the vault, floor, rings, parallel bars, high bar and a smaller version of the pommel horse known as the 'mushroom'.

He narrowly missed out on selection for national trials but is hoping to put the disappointment behind him and focus on his future.

Philip currently spends 20 hours a week honing his skills at Earls gymnastics club in Halesowen – home of Team GB Olympic bronze medallist Kristian Thomas.

Parents Georgie and Malcolm make the 70-mile round trip from their home in Kenilworth after school four evenings a week and on Saturdays but they are struggling to finance their son's gymnastic dream.

Mum Georgie told the Observer: “At the moment it's costing us about £4,000 a year and we simply can't afford it.

“He's got so much potential. When he was selected to trial for the national squad the head junior national coach admitted Philip had stood out."

Discussing her son's prospects of a becoming a future Olympian, she said: “Philip was really inspired by the Games in the summer and at the moment it's not just a sport, it's almost a way of life for him.

“At the end of the day it's such a hard sport. Your body takes a pounding and if he is able to stay injury free, who knows?”

But whatever the future holds for Priorsfield School pupil his parents will be proud of their son's achievements.

Georgie said: "He has been recognised as 'gifted and talented' at school and won medals for Tae Kwon Do but at the moment he seems to have a dogged determination to do well in gymnastics and we want to support him however we can.”

And it seems his talents don't just lie in gymnastics as the youngster recently landed a role in an upcoming Bollywood movie – Yamla Pagla Deewana 2.

If you are interested in sponsoring Philip contact Georgie on 07532 139107.

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Buy photos» Nine-year-old gymnast Philip hones his skills. 43.012.023.leam.nc2

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