UP AGAINST gymnasts who were much older than herself, 14-year-old Mimi-Grace Heaton-Bailey was crowned Lancashire champion and second in the North West.
The Haslingden High School Year 10 student entered a competition in Wigan and in her class – age 14 and over – there were up to 40 competitors.
Mimi-Grace, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “I was not doing my hardest routine, instead I was showing my skills and focusing on the execution.”
She also won a silver for her routine on the bar and bronze medals for her floor and beam work.
Mimi-Grace was originally a dancer, but she kept putting gymnastic moves into routines, like cartwheels, and she asked her instructor to help her do the splits. Since she was seven, she switched to full-time gymnastics.
Initially at Bury Gymnastics Club, she moved to Preston where she now trains 26 hours a week, most days for around four hours.
She said: “Out of the four disciplines, floor, beam, bar and vault, vault is my least favourite because I am quite small for my age and I do not have a lot of power.
“I like the beam because it is exhilarating and when you fall off you have to get back on straight away and carry on or you would make it worse. You mustn’t stop. I am very determined.”
Mimi-Grace said often she finished her school work in the car on the way to the gymnastics club.
In July she competed in an international competition in Malta and was placed third.
Next year, with the Preston club, she will be entering the national grading and she hopes to land a top five place which will mean she will be entered into the Challenge Cup.
Her aim is to compete in a British Gymnastics Competition, but said she is a long way from that.