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Annie’s just champion as hard work pays off with British title success

Annie Young in action at the British Espoir Championships. Picture: Bill Young

Annie Young in action at the British Espoir Championships. Picture: Bill Young

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Norfolk teenage gymnastic star Annie Young finished the competitive year in style with some excellent performances at the British Espoir Championships at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.

Just champion - Annie Young. Picture: Bill Young Just champion - Annie Young. Picture: Bill Young

The championships are the premier national event for 12- and 13-year-old gymnasts and are spread over two days – all gymnasts competing on all pieces of apparatus for the overall title on the first day, and the top eight qualifiers on each piece of apparatus reconvening for the individual apparatus competition on day two.

In the all-around competition, Annie, 13, who trains at the Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics in Besthorpe, was one of the medal favourites and put in a full set of clean and consistent routines across the pieces, with particularly high scores on vault and bars. Her overall personal best total of 51.85 gave her the silver medal, deserved reward for her difficult and complex work, in what was an extremely high quality competition. Also competing were team-mates Lily Tranfield and Emma Atkin, both at their first British championships showing promise for the future.

Annie, from Wymondham, qualified for apparatus finals on the second day on vault, bars and beam. She put in strong performances on vault and beam, placing fourth on both. As the top qualifier on bars Annie went up last in the final and took a gamble in using her more difficult version of the bar routine. This was the first time Annie had competed this routine and she showed star quality in controlling the nerves and adrenaline to hit it superbly. Her score of 13.40 saw her take the title with room to spare.

Annie is coached by Sara-Jane Inglis who said: “It is so easy to forget that Annie only qualified to compete at this level just over a year ago, and only started on the elite path at all in 2015.

“She drew on all of the experience that she has gained this year to cope with the expectation of heading into this level of competition as the favourite, and the way she performed her bar routine for the gold medal was truly staggering.”

In 2018, Annie moves up to the junior ranks and will compete at the British Championships in March and then fight for selection for the European Junior Championships in August.

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