Hackney born-and-bred teenager wins gold medal at Olympic youth festival

Tyesha Mattis

Tyesha Mattis - Credit: Archant

A 13-year-old aspiring Olympic gymnast won a gold medal for best overall gymnast at an Olympic youth festival in Australia.

Former Gainsborough Primary School pupil Tyesha Mattis, picked up the gold medal for her performance in the competition which is comprised of vaults, bars, beam and floor at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney on January 20.

She also picked up individual gold for vault, bronze for uneven bars, bronze for floor and a team silver as part of the British junior national squad.

Tyesha, who picked up the sport when she was toddler, said: “It felt good. I was really happy as I worked very hard to get there.”

It is the second time Tyesha has represented the national youth squad. She took part in the Olympic Hope club in Czech Republic last year where the team came first and she came second overall.

She added: “It was good to represent Great Britain. I wanted to do better than the first time I represented them as I only came second then. I really wanted to improve.”

Her mother Charmaine Clarke, 33, who works as a gymnastics teacher at the East London Gymnastics centre in Beckton, said: “I’m over-the-moon, ecstatic. She’s had to work really hard and it’s paid off.”

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The former gymnast, who once reached the commonwealth trials, said that Tyesha had picked up the sport at an early age, saying: “After training, I went into coaching. My children used to come to the gym with me and do pre-school gymnastic classes.

“I would put Tyesha in the odd gymnastics class and then she got selected for an elite squad at the age of six. She went on to proper training when she was eight or nine.”

Long-term the ambitious teenager hopes to make Team GB in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro and is training intensely five times a week to make her dream a reality.

“It’s quite hard as I do loads of hours”, she said. “I do six hours three days a week and four hours on the other two days. I really want to get to the Olympics. I want to win a gold medal there.”

She will be taking part in the English championships in Dartford and the British championships in Liverpool, which are both in March.