ALTON’S Benjamin Dowds returned from the 2017 Scottish National Artistic Gymnastics Championships with an armful of medals.
The Eggar’s schoolboy, competing in the U14 age category, won silver on the rings and parallel bars and bronze on the high bar.
He was also ‘tracking’ well in the all-round competition (six pieces), but injury prevented him completing a vault.
Scottish by birth, Ben and his family moved to Alton three years ago. He trains 24 hours a week with coach Joe Fraser at Basingstoke.
According to Justin Dowds, his son got into gymnastics primarily as a way of expending huge amounts of extra energy: “He just wouldn’t sit still!”
Ben attended a mums and toddlers gymnastics group and a local club coach noticed him around the age of five and asked him to start training with the gymnastics club in his home town of Dunfermline, Scotland.
The only gymnast in the family – “I’m not sure where the talent came from” – Justin Dowds says that Ben relished the tough and challenging aspect of the sport.
“He likes the fact that you have to work for months sometimes to perfect a move and as soon as you have perfected it. there is an even harder move to be mastered.”
Eggar’s School has been supportive in creating additional study time so that Ben can train and he remains on track for his goal of representing Scotland at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.