Sunderland sports star wins silver in Europe

Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson, and Lucy Atkinson
Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson, and Lucy Atkinson
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A YOUNG sports star and her team won silver as they impressed judges at an international competition.

Lauren Emmerson, 13, from Sunderland, was one of the five-strong squad who were picked to represent Great Britain at the Acrobatic Gymnastics European Championships in Odivelas, Lisbon, Portugal.

The members of South Tyneside Gymnastics Club spent two days at the competition, where Lauren, along with Lucy Atkinson, 12, and Erin Mattinson, 17, finished second in the women’s 12 to 18-year-old group, narrowly missing out on gold, but taking home silver medals for their impressive balance and dynamic routines.

Following the qualifying rounds, they combined their show to claim their prize on the final day of the event.

They were beaten in a close battle by the Russian trio of Darya Chebulanka, Victoria Kravchenko and Aksinya Nagibina but insist they were delighted with their achievement.

Lauren said: “We were quite excited but nervous too because we didn’t know what was going to happen.

“It was really good, and everyone was really happy with how we did.”

Erin, who lives in South Shields and is studying for her A-levels at Sunderland College, said: “It was a bit of a surprise to win a medal.

“It was really fun. It was really close, and we almost won but the Russian team just did enough to beat us.

“We weren’t disappointed, though. We were just happy to win a medal.”

The girls, who were all joined in Portugal by their parents, train six times a week at the club.

Amy Cook, 18, and Lucy Weir, 13, were the other members of the club selected to compete at the championships.

They finished fifth in the qualifying rounds in the class for 13 to 19 women’s pair.

Both partnerships are trained by coaches Ian Said and Victoria Pattison.

The club’s headcoach Debby Said added: “I am very proud of the gymnasts and coaches.

“They work hard all year round and deserve their success, not just for themselves but for our club.

“It takes a team effort from everyone involved to get to the top of your sport.”