Now it’s Ellie Downie’s turn for gymnastics glory -- at the Youth Olympics

MEDALLION GIRL -- Ellie Downie with the three medals she won at the European Championships earlier this year.
MEDALLION GIRL -- Ellie Downie with the three medals she won at the European Championships earlier this year.

The world stage, so gloriously vacated by Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie, now belongs to her younger sister, Ellie.

No sooner had Becky (22) returned to the family home, off Nottingham Road, from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow than Ellie (15) was jetting off to China.

For she is the only girl in a small but elite Team GB gymnastics squad taking part in the Summer Youth Olympics at Nanjing, which begin this Saturday. And she is hoping that the success of Becky, who won two gold medals, and also one of her best friends, 16-year-old Claudia Fragapane, who won four golds, will rub off on her.

“I am sure it will inspire her,” said coach Claire Starkey, of the Notts Gymnastics Academy in Rushcliffe.

“They all drive each other on with a friendly rivalry, so seeing those two do so well will give Ellie even more motivation to go out and succeed. She will want to be on the medals’ podium.”

Ellie has endured an injury-hit season, which forced her to miss the national championships. But she bounced back to win three medals, including gold in the vault, at her last international competition, the European Championships at Sofia in May, and she says she is feeling confident for Nanjing.

“I am so excited,” she said. “My preparation has gone really well. This is the biggest competition I have been in, so it will be a great experience and one that will help me to develop. When I found out I was in the team, it was a great feeling. It’s something I have worked for. The atmosphere will be amazing.”

The Summer Youth Olympics, which runs to Thursday 28th August, has been branded as an international sports, education and cultural festival for teenagers. More than 3,600 athletes from 204 nations are participating.

Ellie has been following in sister Becky’s footsteps from a young age. But she really exploded on to the gymnastics scene at the 2012 UK School Games where she won six gold medals.

She was too young to compete in Glasgow, but will soon be stepping up to senior level alongside Becky and Fragapane. Her big ambition is to make the British team for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.