Derry gymnastics club, ‘Shooting Starz’, was celebrating last month when two of its members returned home from the Celtic Cup in Dublin with medals.
Daniel Bertolina (13) and Gemma Mullan (13) represented team Ireland and team Northern Ireland respectively at the competition held at Dublin City University.
The Celtic Cup included teams from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and the Isle of Man.
Each team put forward their top six gymnasts to compete in both the minor and junior categories.
Daniel’s team came first whilst Gemma’s team finished second.
“It’s a great achievement for both Gemma and Daniel,” said Shooting Starz owner and head coach Ann Hebor.
“Both Gemma and Daniel train 21 hours a week and I think the fact that they both returned with medals is a just reward for all of their hard work - they are a credit to their teams and a credit to Shooting Starz and I couldn’t ask for two better ambassadors.”
Daniel, from Inch Island, first took up gymnastics eight years ago and has been with Campsie based ‘Shooting Starz’ Gymnastics Club for the last four years.
“I really enjoyed the experience of taking part in the Celtic Cup and it was great knowing that I was in the top six gymnasts in my category in Ireland.”
Gemma, from Eglinton, has been a gymnast for the last six years.
Gemma, who is a second year student at Lumen Christi College said that although her team finished second she was delighted to have taken part.
“It was great going to Dublin to compete in such a top class competition.
“We were competing against some of the best gymnasts in the British Isles so to do as well as we both have is very satisfying.”
Head coach Ann said that the duo’s achievements are made more significant due to a change in the rules as to who is eligible to compete for the likes of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“In the last few years the body in charge ruled that anyone can compete for any country as long as their parents are from that country.
“This means that gymnasts like Daniel and Gemma are up against girls and boys from America and other countries whose parents are from here.
“I think if you consider that it shows just how competitive the sport has become and it’s also a sign of the potential both Gemma and Daniel have.
“We have high hopes for both of them and there’s no reason why they can’t both work towards competing at an Olympic Games some day in the future.”
For further information on Shooting Starz Gymnastics Club visit www.shootingstarzgymnastics.com