Wakefield gymnasts aim for glory at European Championships

Wakefield Gym Club gymnasts Ilisha Boardman, left, and Leah Appleton.

Wakefield Gym Club gymnasts Ilisha Boardman, left, and Leah Appleton.

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TALENTED Wakefield gymnasts Ilisha Boardman and Leah Appleton are hoping that they can produce a medal-winning performance when they represent Great Britain at the European Championships later this month.

Ilisha, 15, and Leah, 11, already have three years experience of competing as an acrobatic gymnastics pairing and have won medals at regional and national levels.

However, the girls are now practising hard ahead of the European Championships and Age Group Games to be held in Varna.

Ilisha and Leah have progressed through the ranks at the renowned Wakefield Gym Club and will travel with four other members of the club’s elite squad in search of European glory.

Wakefield Independent School student Ilisha has worked hard to train while studying GCSEs while Leah, who has just started at Crofton Academy, has also successfully combined school work with a six-day per-week training programme.

The hard work has paid off for the ambitious pair who won gold at the Yorkshire Championships in their first year together.

Medal success continued with silver at the British NDP finals in Stoke-on-Trent in 2009 and the result qualified Ilisha and Leah for their first international appearance in Belgium later that year.

A gold medal at the 2010 Yorkshire Championships was followed by silvers at the British Open and this year the pair made a big impact at national level with a silver medal-winning display at the British Championships in March.

The Great Britain team trials at Loughborough University during the summer was another big test for the Wakefield youngsters but they once again rose to the occasion by achieving selection for the British team in Bulgaria.

However, the ambition doesn’t end next month and both girls are hoping to attract sponsorship from local companies and prepare for the World Championships that will be staged in the United States next April.

Read this week’s Wakefield Express for more of the latest sports news.