Fordyce secures gold in acrobatic gymnastics

Douglas Fordyce has turned up trumps again in acrobatic gymnastics – with a performance to remember for the rest of his life.

With his partner Edward Upcott, he clinched a Men’s Pair gold medal in the World Championships in Wroclaw, Poland, beating off the favourites from Russia in a thrilling two-and-a-half minute display which was near perfection.

Douglas, 20, whose father Richard is from Unst, will not forget the year 2010 in a hurry. As a member of Spelbound he became a household name when they won Britain’s Got Talent. Since then, Spelbound have been on the road in the tour of Britain, appearing at Wembley, the O2, Glasgow, Manchester and many other venues. But the lure of footlights and make up obviously has not affected their gymnastic skills.

In the most successful championships ever for Britain, the Men’s Four also clinched gold and the Women’s Trio collected silver. In the team event, Britain picked up the silver medals overall, only being pipped to the gold by the Russians by less than one point.

Douglas and Edward, 18, had to go through three qualifying rounds in order to reach the final, and they performed solid routines in balance, tempo and combined disciplines. This meant that they qualified in second place to the strongly-fancied Russians Pilipchuk and Dudchenko. There was also strong competition from Ukraine, Belarus and China.

In the final, however, the scores were re-set to zero so it was everything to play for. When the British pair took the floor they showed nerves of steel and the routine was near-perfect. With the Russians and Ukrainians still to come, the waiting game was tense to say the least.  The Russian pair were solid as always, so when their score flashed up as less than Douglas and Edward’s, the British contingent in the arena went wild. The only remaining challenge was the Ukrainian pair, who came on last, but they suffered a fall which scuppered their chances.

This latest medal for Douglas caps a remarkable run of success in recent years. In 2006 he won gold at the age 11-16 World Championships with Shelley Evans in a Mixed Pair. He thus becomes probably the only Brit to win two world titles with different partners in different disciplines.  Having spent most of his career in Mixed Pairs, he only teamed up with Edward as a Men’s Pair 18 months ago, having to learn a whole new set of moves and balances.  But since then they have won bronze medals at the World Games in Taipei and silver at the European games in Portugal. His achievement is even more remarkable in that he has been nursing two broken fingers in his right hand for several months now, and has needed constant physiotherapy to stay in competition.

Since Spelbound won Britain’s Got Talent Douglas has been amazed by the number of goodwill messages he has received from Shetland, and wants to thank everyone for their support.


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