Children from schools across Darlington have been showcased on a national scale thanks to local fitness guru, Ste Gordon of TU NOVA Kettlebell Club.

Students from Polam Hall School, Carmel College, Longfield Academy and Hurworth School took part in the Northern England Qualifying event, hosted by a gym in Harrogate, which was set up in a similar style to international competitions.

The athletes had to lift two kettlebells above their head continuously for 10 minutes, with every rep counted by a judge following set criteria, for example, the kettlebell must come to a complete stop overhead and must be one continuous movement.

The junior athletes were lifting either two 16kg kettlebells or two 24kg kettlebells, with the amateur adult athletes lifting the same, and the professional lifting two 32kg kettlebells. Of the 10 athletes lifting, each one earned a place on the England team with high praise from fellow athletes and judges at the event. In addition, the teenage athletes were performing to a standard that is normally set by adults.

Steven Gordon, owner of TU NOVA Kettlebell Club, said: “Now that the team have qualified, they will be getting back in the gym and building up to some of the big competitions in 2020. Some of the team will be competing at the Youth Championships on June 25th in Denmark, others are aiming to set a high standard at our home competition in July, the North East Open. This will be held in Darlington and will build on the success of previous years’ competitions.

“After the summer, the full team will be ‘all systems go’ for the World Championships which takes place in Hungary in November; some athletes are competing for the first time while others are looking to add to their medal tallies from recent years.”

TU NOVA Kettlebell Club began in 2013, when Steven fell in love with the sport and wanted to share this great training with others. The junior club was a ‘happy accident’, borne from one club regular having no childcare and bringing her son along to her class, which he enjoyed so much he wanted to have a go himself.

This led to Steven guiding him through training and helping him build his confidence, which snowballed, resulting in him setting numerous records along the way. This success story demonstrated the massive potential in letting child and parent train together, from getting fitter to building strong relationships. Thus, the Kettlebell Kids programme was born.

The children that come through the programme are now in a position to take the next step onto the international stage, with four of them qualifying for the England team this year. The younger members are looking up to these teenagers and are wanting to progress to the same level.

Steven continues: “It is just brilliant to see as they have good role models in the gym and the teenagers understand this, which helps them develop leadership skills and set a good example.

“With technology being such a huge part of people’s lives now, it is important that we don’t lose sight on just how fundamental exercise is to our health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. This project is all about giving children and adults opportunities through kettlebell lifting, whether this is simply staying active or travelling the world, experiencing new cultures whilst competing.

“Whatever their goals, we are confident our kettlebell sport programme can fulfil them. It is incredibly powerful to see parent and child bond over a common interest of kettlebells. We have seen children transition from being anxious to being full of confidence and have parents who would never have dreamed about exercising to competing alongside their child. Although it is rewarding when one of our athletes hits a PB or wins a medal, it is the experiences, growth and relationships that are truly fulfilling to the coaches at TU NOVA Kettlebell Club.”

All of the coaches at TU NOVA Kettlebell Club are international athletes and are qualified to the highest level. This ensures that every child is getting the best coaching possible, so whether they want to go all in with their training or they simply want to get started, the company has everything in place to help them on their journey to a fitter, stronger and healthier life. For more information see: tu-nova.com.