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January 12, 2022

A POMMEL horse signed by an Olympian and Strictly star has been donated to a local elementary school, courtesy of a local business group.

A silver and bronze medalist in Beijing, Louis Smith signed the pommel horse for a gym academy run by Elite Leisure Collection (ELC), the group that owns One Media, publisher of The Times.

After the gymnastics academy ended, ELC decided to donate the device to Frant Primary School, to help start the students’ gymnastics class.

Amanda Douch, a physical education teacher, said: “It’s gotten to the stage where I now have kids in grades five and six who can jump very easily, so they need a new focus to progress further, so this pommel horse is an amazing opportunity for them.”

Gymnastics is part of the school’s curriculum from reception through sixth grade, with all children in these age groups doing one term of the sport a year.

Prior to the donation, the school only had agility tables, which are not sturdy enough to support the complicated or advanced techniques the children are capable of.

For this reason, the school is considering increasing the role of gymnastics in the school now that the facilities are available.

Frant Primary is looking to raise funds for a suitable springboard and landing mat, to help get up and down from the pommel horse, meaning a wider range of pupils could use it.

Through the strength of the equipment the school has been given – and hopefully will still receive – the potential for the next Louis Smith to come out of school has been undeniably enhanced.

“The kids are full of enthusiasm, drive and passion, so who knows if one of them could become an Olympian,” added Douch.

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