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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

The boys train at Europa Gymnastics Centre in Crayford

01 January 2014
by Julia Roberts

But for proud parents Kerri and Glen Regini-Moran it is proving to be worth every penny after their eldest son won a gold medal at the 2013 World School Gymnastics Games in Brazil.

Giarnni Regini-Moran competed for the GB squad in Rio to win the floor title in artistic gymnastics.

Giarnni with his family right behind him

Giarnni with his family right behind him

The 15-year-old also scooped a bronze for parallel bars, and came fifth overall against competitors from 40 countries.

But the St John’s Comprehensive pupil is not the only member of the Gravesend family coming on leaps and bounds in the sporting world.

For his brother Emilio, 11, is also in the GB gymnastics squad, making them the first brothers to represent their country at the same time.

The boys train at Europa Gymnastics Centre in Crayford but, until September 2012, were having to travel six days a week from their then home in Lowestoft, Suffolk, to be with their coach, Peter Etherington.

As the journeys began to take their toll, the Regini-Morans made the difficult decision to
sacrifice their home and family ties.

Giarnni with some of his and brother Emilios's trophies.

Giarnni with some of his and brother Emilios's trophies.

Mum of five Kerri, 44, said: “Pete has been coaching Giarnni for about 10 years, and because he coaches Emilio, too, he is like part of the family.

“When he first moved to Europa, we were still living in Suffolk, and Glen was having to drive the boys six times a week so they could maintain their high level of training.

“We realised we had three options: either tell the boys to give up; drive them to training six times a week and have no lives ourselves; or sell our house.

“We arrived in Gravesend in September 2012 simply and purely for the boys to follow their coach.

“It was hard because all my family are from Suffolk and all Glen’s family are there too, but it’s proving to be worth it.”

The move also meant uprooting Kerri and Glen’s other children, Carlos, aged 14, Ellesse, 12, and six-year-old Rico, but the siblings were fully supportive of the idea.

Carlos and Ellesse also go to St John’s Comprehensive, while Rico is a pupil at Wrotham Road Primary. Emilio attends St John’s Primary.

Carlos is also proving to be a champ, but in the world of kickboxing and boxing, and has a world championships kickboxing silver medal under his belt.

Kerri and Glen, who were once international Latin and ballroom dancers, are bursting with pride at their children’s sporting talent.

Also creaking at the seams is the collection of medals and trophies on display in the family home in Essex Road.

Kerri said: “Giarnni was absolutely buzzing when he won in Rio. I was working and he sent me a text saying: ‘Mum, guess what? I’m world champion on floor and fifth overall.’ He was so chuffed.”

“Giarnni and Emilio are the first brothers in the GB squad at the same time, which is amazing. Incredibly, they were both selected at the age of eight.

“But there is no sibling rivalry, not one ounce of jealousy. They are 100% supportive of each other, as are all the children.”

Giarnni is now aiming for the British Championships this year, and has to maintain his high, consistent standard on all six specialties – floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar – to be selected for the European Championships in Bulgaria in May.

Success at these competitions will stand him in good stead for a return visit to Rio for the 2016 Olympics.

Another challenge for the family is securing sponsorship for the boys.

Anyone keen to help can contact Kerri on 07827918908.

Click here for more news from Gravesend.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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