The Zone member and Leeds Jewish Free School (LJFS) pupil Eitan Aibi started trampolining at just nine years old. In 2015, his best friend Elijah invited him to attend summer camp, where coach Dan May realised Eitan’s natural talent for the sport. Following the camp, Dan contacted Eitan’s mum, Daliah to invite him to join the competitive squad – and Eitan jumped at the chance.
A member of Leeds Rebound Gymnastics club, the 13 year-old endures a tough training schedule, practicing at least 15 hours a week. Last year, he was selected to join the British Gymnastics Development Squad and now trains at its base in Shropshire for a weekend each month.
Only eight boys in his age category were nominated to join the squad from across the UK. Out of those eight, four were selected to represent Great Britain in the French Open Colomiers Competition, where Eitan scooped the gold medal.
Eitan went on to win gold in the synchronised trampolining category in the British Championships 2018, secured silver in the English Gymnastics Competition and recently topped the men’s category in the Yorkshire Championships in Sheffield.
One of his most significant achievements is winning The Rachel Crowther Memorial Trophy. Rachel was a trampolinist and member of Kirklees Rebound Trampoline Club until her untimely death at the age of 17, due to meningitis and septicaemia. It was Rachel’s mother, who presented the award to Eitan.
“My husband Udi and I are extremely proud of Eitan,” said mum Dalia, “the fact we’ve seen him fulfil his ambition of not only representing Leeds, but the UK is beyond amazing.”
The couple are seeking sponsorship to help cover the staggering expenses involved, which are currently entirely self-funded. One weekend of training with the GB squad costs £160 and fees to compete in France stacked up at £500, excluding travel to Heathrow and expenses.
“Competitions are very costly to enter and the kit alone costs an awful lot of money,” said Daliah. “As we have four other children, one in university, it’s often difficult for us to agree to Eitan’s participation, however we’re reluctant to say no and couldn’t bear it if financial constraints cost him his dream.”
The Zone youth group is currently helping Eitan’s family to secure sponsorship to help keep the dream alive, as he works hard to qualify for the European Championships.
Commenting on the fundraising efforts, Raina Sheaf, leader of The Zone, said: “Eitan has been attending The Zone since he was in nursery school, taking part in various sports and social activities. We have watched him grow in confidence and gain incredible skills over the years. We are incredibly proud of all his achievements and hope the community can come together to support a future Olympic prospect.”
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