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Friday Focus on Down Syndrome - Brothers in Arms

Sports awards: Brothers in arms to take on gymnastic world

Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 09:00 JON OWEN ThisIsStaffordshire.co.uk
THE Mitchell brothers – Billy and Ben – used each other as the inspiration to achieve considerable gymnastic success in 2009.
Ben, aged 23, and Billy, aged 12, from Fenton, both [edit: have] Down's Syndrome.
They train at the Crewe and Nantwich Gymnastic Club during the week, and are both part of national display teams.
The brothers, who compete in various gymnastic disciplines including floor routines and vault and single bar, have once again had a fine 2009, achieving success both at home and abroad.
"They both love competing and they enjoy training during the week," said their mum, Pat.


"Seeing them do so well makes me feel very proud, and the fact they are brothers really helps because they support each other. They both work tremendously hard and are always looking to go one better."
One of Ben's finest achievements came at last year's Special Olympics in Leicester where he won four bronze medals and a silver in the over-21 age group.
Ben, who is a student at the Clifford Project in Stone, also won a gold medal at a Special Olympics competition in Hull for his floor routine.
The older brother is a member of the national gymnastics group Team Gym which won events in Edinburgh, Gloucester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bracknell last year.
He also travelled abroad in November to compete in the European Championships, where he and his team-mates came away with a gold medal.
Younger brother Billy won a gold medal for his floor routine and a bronze for the vault at the Special Olympics event in Hull.
He trains at Crewe for three-and-a-half hours each week, but is also part of the national display team Spartac, which is based at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
Billy was part of the Spartac display team who travelled to the Scottish and London gym festivals in 2009.
Despite suffering a bad ankle injury, he also managed a fourth and fifth-placed finishes at the Special Olympics in Leicester.
The brothers have been nominated in the sports person with a Disability category of the 2009 The Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year awards by their mum.
She added: "They have gone out to achieve so much in gymnastics and each year they seem to win more and more.
"Billy really looks up to Ben and they spur each other on at competitions.
"They have both gained a feeling of self-worth and achievement since taking up the sport. They are proud of each other."
JON OWEN


 
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