Gymnasts somersault to success at world championships in China

Lauren Said, Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson, Vienna Ramsay and Lucy Atkinson.
Lauren Said, Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson, Vienna Ramsay and Lucy Atkinson.

A group of borough gymnasts somersaulted their way to success at the World Acrobatics Championships.

The athletes, from South Tyneside Gymnastics Centre, based at Temple Park, South Shields, picked up a host of medals at the international competition in Putian City, China.

The girls in their South Shields FC scarves.

The girls in their South Shields FC scarves.

Kristie Harrington, Sofie Lincoln and Gabrielle Evans became the junior world champions after an amazing gold medal-winning performance in the Women’s Trio (13-19 age group).

A great performance by Lauren Said and Vienna Ramsay earned them fifth place in the Women’s Pair (12-18 age group).

Meanwhile, three fantastic routines earned Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson and Lucy Atkinson sixth place in a very close competition at the Senior World Championships.

The girls, all from South Tyneside, built on their success at the World Cup last month, when Erin, Lauren and Lucy put in a fine display to secure a much coveted and prestigious gold medal for Great Britain.

Coach Ian Said, who runs the Gymnastics Centre with his wife Debbie, travelled with the girls and the rest of Team GB from Heathrow, where they flew over to Beijing, then finally on to Putian, where the competition was held.

Ian, director of the Gymnastics Centre, said: “It’s a great achievement by all eight girls which reflects the effort, teamwork, dedication and commitment not just from the girls but also their families who support them.

“South Tyneside Gymnastics Club is very proud of what they have achieved together throughout their careers so far and looks forward to the next chapter. Thank you girls, you are a credit to the club.”

The gymnastics centre is regarded as one of the top four in the country, and has been operated by South Tyneside Gymnastics and Wellbeing Centre Community Interest Company since 2014, following an asset transfer from South Tyneside Council.

The council has been supportive in helping the centre to run independently, while as a community interest company, all profits are reinvested into the building, facilities and activities for people of all ages and levels of ability.

The dedication of its gymnasts has led to much success, the latest of which came at the World Championships.

The gymnasts at the centre train for up to 23 hours a week.

The girls were offered support by South Shields FC managing director, Michael Orr, who presented them each with a club scarf to take on the trip.

He said: “South Shields Football Club is keen to engage with the South Tyneside community and in particular to champion other sporting successes.

“Having visited the gymnastics centre and witnessed first-hand a training session, it is clear to see the dedication and talent that is being nurtured.”