SOUTH Essex Gymnastics Club chairman Roy Short has spoken of his pride after seeing more youngsters progress in the sport.

The young quartet of Danny Crouch, Sean Dalton, Jamie Langridge and George Atkins were recently called up to the Great British Elite Performance Squad for 2018.

And the gymnasts will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Max Whitlock and Amy Tinkler, who have become household names thanks to their success on the international stage.

Short believes that Whitlock, who won two golds at Rio 2016, and Olympic bronze medallist Tinkler are impressive role models for the talented youngsters coming through South Essex Gymnastics Club.

The club chairman said: “We can’t overlook the fact that we had a world champion retain his title again in Max Whitlock.

“But, for me, one of the most exciting things is the up-and-coming successors to Max.

“We now also have Amy Tinkler working with Ross Falsetta, which strengths and motivates in an incredible way the ladies and girls side.

“Max and Amy are leading competitors in the world of gymnastics and they are fantastic role models for the youngsters that are coming through the club.

“It is brilliant for the club to have such high level names, but of course the bread and butter of the club is all of the new beginners that are starting their training in gymnastics.

“They are who are inspired by these big names.”

South Essex Gymnastics Club’s success has resulted in the club having a waiting list of approximately 3,000 names.

The club - which is based at Basildon Sporting Village - is also set to open a new venue at the Eversley Leisure Centre, in Pitsea.

And Short hopes the new location will help to reduce the number on the waiting list.

Short added: “The waiting list is obviously a constantly changing thing but there is approximately 3,000 names on our waiting list at the moment.

“That is a great compliment, but it’s very frustrating from our side - as trustees - because we want to get them into the club and pursue their chosen activity.

“It’s been going on for a long time but we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (in terms of opening the new venue at the Eversley Leisure Centre).

“We have been informed by the builders and construction team that they will be moving into the venue to do the conversions and make the main sports hall into a new gymnastics hall for the club.

“I must emphasise it is not a replacement for the existing facility.

“It is an addition to the existing facility to help us meet the demand from the people waiting to get involved in gymnastics.

“The builders are due to start in the first week of February and we are looking towards opening it in May, subject to equipment test supply times.”