Gymnast Becky on target for London 2012

OLYMPIC GOLD DUST? -- Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie
OLYMPIC GOLD DUST? -- Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie

TALENTED Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie has proved she has shrugged off a worrying injury and is on course for the London 2012 Olympic Games next month.

Becky (20), who lives at Poppy Mews, off Nottingham Road, has established herself as one of the best gymnasts Britain has produced.

But when she ruptured an Achilles tendon back in January last year, it was feared that her burgeoning career would be thrown off course.

Thankfully, she looked as good as new when competing at the British Team Championships in Guildford, Surrey, helping the Nottinghamshire teams secure the bronze medal.

Now Becky is confident of winning selection for the Great Britain team in London, which will give her the chance to improve on the heroics she displayed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Her 12th-place finish was the best achievement by a British female gymnast at any Olympics.

“This is a busy and important time for Becky,” said Claire Starkey, who is head coach for the Notts Gymnastics Academy.

“But it has started very positively and now we have to keep going, approaching the events tactically to ensure she stays fit and healthy but, at the same time, does enough to make the GB team for London. That is the focus.”

Becky was let loose on three apparatus at Guildford, performing on bars, vault and beam but missing the floor. And her efforts delighted Starkey.

“It was a great day,” said the coach. “Becky did vault for the first time since her Achilles injury and landed it.

“She also performed well on bars and then on beam, she top scored with 14.4.

“We did not let her do floor and left a couple of skills out of the bar routine. But it was a positive day for Becky. We were really pleased. It was a strong start to the Olympic trials.”

The Notts team also included fellow Olympic hopeful Niamh Rippin, plus fellow Hucknall starlets Katy Bramley and Becky’s younger sister, Ellie Downie.

Not only did they bag a bronze medal but Ellie also finished fourth overall in the all-round competition, which was a superb achievement considering she is only 12 and was competing against seniors.

Ellie’s success followed up her recent performance at the Sainsbury’s UK School Games, when she swept the board to win six gold medals.

She looks certain to be in contention for a place in the GB team for the next Olympics in Brazil in 2016

But for now, all attention is on London and Becky’s attempts to do herself justice.

The Guildford tournament was the first of what are, in effect, four Olympic trials.

Next up come international matches at Ipswich and Liverpool and then the British Championships, also in Liverpool, from Friday June 22 to Sunday June 24, which will act as a forerunner to the Olympics.

Becky has already fulfilled three of her main career-goals — to compete at the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.

And she already has an impressive collection of medals on her mantelpiece, having won seven British all-round titles, two Commonwealth Games medals and a European Team Championship silver medal.

But glory at London 2012, in front of her own fans, would top the lot. Fingers crossed!