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Wymondham's Bethany treading elite path to gym success

PUBLISHED: 17:47 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:33 02 July 2010

Bethany Harmer's aim is Rio, as she hopes to become a Great Britain gymnast.

Bethany Harmer's aim is Rio, as she hopes to become a Great Britain gymnast.

Michael Bailey

A talented young Norfolk gymnast is a step closer to achieving her dream of representing the Great Britain in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nine-year-old Bethany Harmer, of Silfield near Wymondham, is one of just 10 youngsters in the country in her age group to have been chosen for the Great Britain development squad.

A talented young Norfolk gymnast is a step closer to achieving her dream of representing the Great Britain in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nine-year-old Bethany Harmer, of Silfield near Wymondham, is one of just 10 youngsters in the country in her age group to have been chosen for the Great Britain development squad.

And with an invitation to take part in trials for the British Schools Team coming up next month, Bethany's parents are appealing for sponsorship.

Mum Heather said, a child minder, said: “You imagine that financial support is available to help talented youngsters but that just doesn't seem to be the case and we're appealing to local people to help us keep Bethany on course for Rio.

“The more competitions she enters the more expensive it all gets - from the competition leotards, which cost £90 each, through to travel and overnight expenses, not to mention coaching fees.

“We're not a wealthy family and we're worried that lack of financial support could stop Bethany from achieving her full potential.”

Bethany trains 20 hours a week at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics, in Besthorpe, where she is a member of the elite competition squad and head coach Sara-Jane Inglis has always believed Bethany shows great promise.

She said: “Bethany is without a doubt one of the most talented gymnasts who has ever walked through the doors of the club.

“She has all of the natural attributes to make it to the very top of the sport. She is strong, flexible, determined, beautifully artistic and has nerves of steel.

“She has attracted praise from everyone in the gymnastics world that has encountered her and all agree she has an extremely bright future ahead of her.”

Bethany took up gymnastics as a three year-old, first taking part in her regional and national competitions just 18 months ago.

One local business - Rosedale Funeral Home - has already pledged £500 to help Bethany's bid to maximise her chances of competing at the very top of her sport.

“As a family business we're proud to support local young people like Bethany who are working so hard to fulfil their dreams,” said Rosedale Funeral Director Andrew Free. “Bethany has made huge progress in the last year and we're urging other local businesses to help her on her way.”

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