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Eight-year-old gymnast endures 19 hours of training a week to come out on top

PUBLISHED: 23:22 14 October 2018 | UPDATED: 23:22 14 October 2018

Megan Baxter, eight, during training at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics at Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Megan Baxter, eight, during training at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics at Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Megan Baxter is a keen gymnast, she trains 19 hours a week and has won numerous county competitions - and she is only eight-years-old.

When most school children are counting down the hours for home time, Megan heads straight to gymnastics training and still finds time to do her homework.

She has exceptional drive for her age, with her twirls, rolls, spins and flips distinguishing her performances at county competitions.

The youngster from Saham Toney, near Watton, trains five days a week, spending hours perfecting her already impressive techniques in preparation for her golden moment on the Olympic stage, even if it is some years away.

“My favourite thing about gymnastics is learning the routines needed for competitions and then performing them in front of the judges,” she said.

Megan Baxter, eight, demonstrates her gymnastic skills in class to head teacher Gayle Long, right, and Megan's  class teacher, Ruth Bartram, at Attleborough Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMegan Baxter, eight, demonstrates her gymnastic skills in class to head teacher Gayle Long, right, and Megan's class teacher, Ruth Bartram, at Attleborough Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I especially love the floor routines as I get to do lots of dance and tumbles.

“I look up to the older girls in the gym like Annie Young and Flossie Cook who have represented Great Britain and England and I aspire to be as good as them one day.”

Megan is on the elite pathway for gymnastics - the British Gymnastics grading system for competitive gymnasts - and has recently won the elite level 5 county gymnastics competition on Sunday, September 30.

Megan’s father - who does not wish to be named - said she had found a passion for gymnastics around a month before her fifth birthday. 
“She decided she liked doing flips on the floor,” he said. “We took her to the gymnastics academy and they said she needed to be in a group straight away. 
“When she was five or six-years-old she was doing seven hours of training a week.

Megan Baxter, eight, during training with coach Naomi Gage, at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics at Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMegan Baxter, eight, during training with coach Naomi Gage, at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics at Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“When we go shopping she does cartwheels in the lanes, she’s forever doing something.

“She’s been doing really well every year,” he added. “She deserves every chance.”

He said Megan’s school has been supportive and allow Megan to come out of school on Wednesday afternoons to get extra training at elite level when the gym is much quieter.

A school spokesman said: “We are very proud of her – the school has presented her with the school gymnastic badge to recognise her achievements.”

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