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Welsh acrobat Dylan Howells wants to use the “incredible experience” of competing at his first World Championships as a springboard for future success.

The 20-year-old, who hails from Risca, was part of the Great Britain squad who returned to the competition floor over the weekend – after the best part of 18 months out – at the 2021 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Geneva, Switzerland.

Howells, who trains out of King Edmund GC in Yate, was competing in the mixed pair competition alongside his Gloucestershire club partner Natasha Hutchinson.

It was the pair’s first competitive outing together, having only teamed up at the start of the year, while preparation had been difficult due to Covid restrictions.

They scored 81.780 across their dynamic, balance and combined routines to finish 9th and only narrowly missing out on the top eight and qualification for the final.

“It was such an incredible experience,” he said.

“To go and compete for your country and seeing all the support from home, there is no better feeling. Being amongst the best of the best was truly amazing and motivates me even more to go and do more competitions like this one.

“I believe we did a good job out in Geneva – our first ever competition together – and only missing out on the final by one place is quite something considering our unorthodox preparations prior to the competition.

“We showed our hard work and dedication and I couldn't be any prouder of me and Natasha.

“We had a fall in our last qualifying routine which hit our score big time, so for us to still place 9th out of the 17 countries makes me believe that, if we iron out the little mistakes, we really can put up a good fight.”

He added: “Our experience at the World Championships has made me even more determined to work hard and work towards getting even better results next time.

“Seeing what we can do after only six months' work together only leaves me with very high hopes for the future.”

Full results from the 2021 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships are available on the FIG website.