Historic debut as Norfolk youngsters shine on the international platform

PUBLISHED: 10:26 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 30 October 2017

Laura-Rose Cooke, centre. Picture: Debbie Cooke

Laura-Rose Cooke, centre. Picture: Debbie Cooke


Two teenage Norfolk gymnastic stars have enjoyed international success at home and abroad.

Annie Young. Picture: Bill YoungAnnie Young. Picture: Bill Young

The pair, who train at the Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics, were making their international debuts, Laura-Rose Cooke competing for the first time on foreign soil and Annie Young pulling on the Great Britain kit for the first time.

Cooke, 16, from Thorpe End, Norwich, travelled to Leverkusen in Germany as part of a three-strong England team contesting the 42nd annual Leverkusen Cup. Competing in front of a crowd of more than 1,000, she held her nerve to put in four clean performances across the apparatus, helping England to team silver behind the first of three German national teams.

She also took individual overall gold with a score of 49.10 – the first English gymnast to take the title in the long history of the competition. The Norwich School pupil also picked up silver on the bars and bronze on floor.

Club head coach Sara-Jane Inglis was also head coach for England and said: “Laura-Rose was excited at this opportunity but also visibly nervous and she did a fantastic job in putting those nerves aside and going calmly through her routines.”

Annie Young. Picture: Bill YoungAnnie Young. Picture: Bill Young

Young has just turned 13 and been a member of the Great Britain junior squad since January, impressing the national coaches with a skill level way beyond her years and phenomenal work ethic and desire.

She was selected for the GB junior team at the international Rushmoor Rosebowl competition in Aldershot, where she put in clean routines on all apparatus to take overall bronze in a field of around 100 gymnasts. She also helped the GB junior team to silver behind their senior counterparts, and qualified for apparatus finals on three pieces.

“Annie’s selection came as no surprise given how she continues to progress and develop, but for her to hit her routines in what was, for her, a very different situation, competing for Great Britain and being without me at a competition for the first time, is a great achievement,” said Inglis.

Young gets a second GB outing when she travels to Liberic in the Czech Republic in November for the prestigious Olympic Hopes tournament before heading for the British Espoir championships in Guildford in December.

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