Norfolk Academy trio beat the odds
Michael BaileyA trio of gymnasts enjoyed a fantastic end to 2009 with performances that rewarded their hard work and boosted hopes for this year.Michael Bailey
A trio of gymnasts enjoyed a fantastic end to 2009 with performances that rewarded their hard work and boosted hopes for this year.
The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics threesome of 14-year-old Wymondham College pupil Sarah Kett, 12-year-old Notre Dame High student Sienna Sprong and 11-year-old schoolmate Polina Polyakova put in some terrific disciplines to help bring home the Ariels Cup at the Alpha Factor National Invitational, in Wiltshire.
Sarah came fifth overall at level two age 14-plus, Sienna won overall silver at level four age 12-13 and gained awards for first on beam, second on floor and third on bars, while Polina won overall silver medal at level three age 11-12, gaining awards for first on bars and third on beam.
The commitment from all three gymnasts has been something to behold - with all obstacles being broken on their way to making 2009 a success. Sienna was forced to give up gymnastics for the whole of 2008 due to stomach pains, before regular sessions with a chiropractor helped ensure a return to the sport she loves.
Sarah was diagnosed with Sever's disease at the age of 10 - a painful cause of heel pain - and at one point it prevented her from tumbling and hitting a hard surface on her foot, be it vault, floor or beam.
The condition continues to flare up for Sarah - making her success last year even more remarkable - and she could be in plaster to help strengthen the tendon in her heel.
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Either way, she plans to build on her form from last year.
Elite gymnast Polina - whose mother is a Russian ballet dancer - had an amazing year after being named the Academy's gymnast of the year two years ago.
The coming year promises more opportunities - and success - for all three talented gymnasts.