For the second year in a row, a local gymnastics team has qualified for the sport’s prestigious national championship.
Tyneside Gymnastics, who train out of the TyneMet sports hall at their Queen Alexandra Campus in North Shields, were one of only two junior women teams to achieve the required score at the recent Team Gymnastics Northern Qualifying competition in Edinburgh.
Known simply as TeamGym, the discipline is an exciting offshoot of regular gymnastics, where teams of between six and 12 perform a series of tumbles, trampette moves and vaults in a streaming formation to loud, rhythmic music, followed by a group floor display.
Tyneside’s junior women’s team, who are all aged between 13 and 15, will now take their place alongside teams from across the UK in the finals being held in Liverpool on July 30 and 31.
It is the third time in their five-year history that the club has sent teams to the sport’s premier competition.
Tyneside TeamGym head coach Emma Crowe said: “I am absolutely delighted for the team. They have worked hard all year to develop the skills and teamwork that is key in the sport.
“This shows that although still a new club, Tyneside Gymnastics continues to grow and develop these young gymnasts into the best they can be.”
Alongside the junior women, two other teams from Tyneside Gymnastics competed in the two-day Edinburgh showpiece, and there were further celebrations for the club this week with news that their primary challenge team, aged nine to 11, have also been invited to compete at the Liverpool gathering in their category.
“I am really proud of all of our teams who competed in Edinburgh,” added Emma.
“Our Junior micro team, youth micro team and our primary challenge team performed really well in their categories and gained some great experience and with our primary challenge team now being invited to compete in Liverpool too, it can only help them as they develop their skills to perform the kind of moves they see some of the older gymnasts complete.
“I can see the next group of gymnasts forming already, which is great news for the coming years.”
One of the successful gymnasts heading to the finals in Liverpool is 15-year-old Whitley Bay High School pupil, Maisie McCall.
“There was a huge cheer when we heard we had achieved the qualifying score,” she said.
“The national finals has been our aim all year and it’s a great feeling to know our hard work has paid off. We can’t wait to get back in the gym and train even harder.”
There was disappointment for one gymnast, though, as regular team member Ellie Higham broke her ankle in a training accident just two days before the Edinburgh competition.
“Ellie was devastated when she found out she couldn’t compete,” said Emma.
“But she still travelled up to Edinburgh with the squad to support them and got a huge hug from all her team-mates afterwards. That says a lot about the spirit in the club.”
Anybody interested in finding out more about Tyneside Gymnastics should contact Lynsey White or Emma Crowe, head coaches, Tyneside Gymnastics, c/o Tyne Met College, Queen Alexandra Campus, Hawkeys Lane, North Shields NE29 9BZ.