Welshman Dylan Howells is gearing up to mix it with the world’s best acrobatic gymnasts.
The 20-year-old, who hails from Risca, will be part of the Great Britain squad who fly out to Switzerland next week for 2021 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, which are being staged from July 2 to 4 in Geneva.
Howells, who trains out of King Edmund GC in Yate, will compete alongside his Gloucestershire club partner Natasha Hutchinson in the mixed pair event.
“Covid has been a struggle for everyone, ourselves included, but it feels great to be going out to compete again,” said former Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni pupil Howells.
“Our training leading up to this competition has been a little unorthodox due to Covid.
“We’ve had to train at different locations where sometimes we wouldn't even have a sprung floor, but we still worked hard and pushed on through – and now we get to compete for Great Britain which is always an incredible feeling.”
It will also be another step up and with a new partner for Howells who, in 2019, was picked to represent Great Britain at the Acrobatic European Championships.
He continued: “This will be my biggest competition to date, so to be selected to compete at this level makes me so proud of the work me and Natasha have put in.
“This will also be mine and Natasha’s first competition together, so we’re hoping to go out and perform to our best.
“We’ve only been training together since the beginning of this year, so I’m so pleased with what we've been able to achieve in such a short space of time.
“Huge credit goes towards Natasha, who has dedicated her time and effort. Acrobatics is a sport where you constantly have to rely on one another and trust in your partner or partners and Natasha has been great.”
It will be the 27th staging of the Acrobatic World Championships, which were originally scheduled to take place in Geneva in May 2020.
Great Britain will be represented in the men’s pair, mixed pair, women’s group and men’s group events.
“Not only representing GB, but my home country Wales, is such a great feeling,” added Howells.
“I have such great support from family, friends and colleagues and that pushes me to do better constantly.
“My goal would be to represent GB at the World Games in 2022 and there is also a European Championships towards the end of this year that we will be working towards.”