South Tyneside gymnasts 'over the moon' after they are selected to represent Great Britain

Three South Tyneside gymnasts are jumping with joy after being selected to represent their country for the first time.

By Sarah Sinclair
Monday, 12th August 2019, 6:00 am
Olivia Parker, Lauren Conlin and Hannah Smith
Olivia Parker, Lauren Conlin and Hannah Smith

Lauren Conlin, 18, Hannah Smith, 12, both from South Shields, and 15-year-old Olivia Parker, from Hebburn, have been named as part of the Great British team for the Acrobatic Gymnastic European Championships in Israel in October.

The trio, who attend South Tyneside Gymnastics Club, received the news following their success at the British Championships in Liverpool, which took place from July 25-28.

Senior coach Ian Said was also selected as the Great Britain team manager, which he has described as an “honour”.

Chloe Heley, Megan Neal and Ruby Oliver

Ian commented: “They were over the moon, it was a tough category and there was a lot of competition, but they did their job and got themselves selected.

“I know they will go and perform. They have all been with us for a number of years now and have progressively improved at the right rate. They have been nurtured, so we are getting the best out of them and they are fulfilling their potential.”

The club’s 11-16 trio Chloe Heley, 15, Ruby Oliver, 11, from South Shields, and Megan Neal, 13, from Sunderland, were also announced as the non-travelling first reserve for the Acrobatic European Age Group competition.

The girls all competed in the British Championships, along with women’s pair Lillie Gladman, 12 and Morgan Nelson, 15 both from Sunderland.

Olivia Parker, Lauren Conlin and Hannah Smith

The squad came away triumphant as all three partnerships made it to the podium. The two trios took the silver medals in their category, while the women’s pair were awarded the bronze.

“It was a really tough category, so to come second and get a medal at the British Championships shouldn’t be overlooked,” said Ian.

Lauren, Hannah and Olivia are the latest in a long line of gymnasts from the club to compete as such a high level, with a history of success at both British and European Championships.

Ian added: “It’s going to be hard work. As a sport of gymnastics can be very unpredictable, they’ve just got to go and do what they are capable of doing.”

Morgan Nelson and Lily Gladman
(L-R) Chloe Heley, Megan Neal and Ruby Oliver
Morgan Nelson and Lily Gladman