Life in the balance at Lewes Old Grammar School

British tumbler champion Dominic Mensah enthralled pupils in one-to-one sessions

How does a young athlete with a country’s medal hopes riding on his shoulders stay fit, focused and still have time to enjoy life?

That was the question at the front of everyone’s mind at an inspiring one-to-one session between Lewes Old Grammar School gymnasts and British tumbler champion Dominic Mensah.

Pupils who have been committed to multiple extra-curricular clubs or had a keen interest in the sport were invited to spend the day with Dominic, a member of the British national tumbling squad and a bronze medal winner at the World Age Group Tumbling Competition at 14.

If anyone knows how to strike the balance between ambition and being a well-rounded post-millennial, it’s Dominic. Part of the four-man team that won gold at the Junior Tumbling European Championships in 2016, he also took the British Junior Tumbling Championship title twice and aims to win his first senior event this year. Now 18, his ultimate ambition is to triumph for GB at the World Tumbling Championship in 2021 or 2025.

Pupils learned more about Dominic’s journey from child gymnast to his current GB status, including the difficult decisions he’s had to make along the way. How he managed to strike a balance between studies, training and a social life struck a chord with pupils in their own pursuit of high-level sport and featured heavily among questions around diet and nutrition, gymnastics skills and the pressures of an international competition.

Key to Dominic’s success was what he described as having a ‘growth mindset’ and using it to come back stronger after a setback.

“The pupils were engrossed in Dominic’s story and inspired through the fitness session. They said it was a great honour to work with an athlete who is so committed to his sport and has an understanding of what dedication means,” said PE teacher Lloyd Stubbs. “I am so pleased that we were able to reward our students with such a fantastic morning and as a PE team, we’ll continue to offer our sports students similar fantastic events.”

After an awe-inspiring demonstration reel from the champ, he pushed pupils to their limits in a variety of strength and endurance tasks as they attempted to beat Dominic in the plank, press-ups, situps and mountain climbs. 

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