Young gymnast given chance to break into England Junior squad

A YOUNG gymnast has been given a dream chance to force her way into the England Junior squad after the heartbreak of narrowly missing out on automatic qualification.

Stevie Harrow, a 14-year-old from Manea, thought her chance had disappeared as she failed to make the top 15 at the English and British Championship’s earlier this year but has now been given a lifeline.

England coach, Karen Chapman, has invited the teenager to attend the squad’s meeting in York from October 1-3 and could represent her country if she impresses.

“We were completely gobsmacked and it came out of the blue because we thought Stevie had just missed out,” said her proud father Steve.

“We thought we would have to start again and build for next year. It’s a great chance and Stevie is determined to grab it.

“It’s all about building, progressing and improving and even if she doesn’t make the full squad this is still an amazing opportunity.

“We’re extremely proud of her and it makes all the long journey’s and hard work feel worthwhile.”

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Harrow is an artistic gymnast who specialises in bars, beem, floor and the vault and already represents the East of England at regional level.

She joined Pipers Vale Gymnastic Club in Ipswich last year and has been training most weeks for more than 26 hours in a bit to realise her potential.

Her coach, Andy Wood, said: “When she joined us last year at the club her self-belief was rock-bottom.

“In the space of a year the improvement that she’s made has been astounding. I’ve never seen an improvement like it.

“Stevie gets very nervous before events and if she can combat that then we will really start moving places.

“We’ve motivated her to believe in herself because the potential was always there. If she continues to work hard and stay injury-free she has a great chance of making the England squad and then forcing her way into the GB set-up.”