European challenge is next step in Hackney teenager’s quest for gold

Tyesha Mattis

Tyesha Mattis - Credit: Archant

Hackney gymnast Tyesha Mattis is determined to continue her 2013 gold rush and claim another international title when she takes part in the European Youth Olympic Festival this month.

The 14-year-old has been chosen as part of a 44-strong British team that will head to Utrecht from July 14-19 to compete against more than 2,300 athletes from 48 other countries.

Mattis has already tasted success on the international stage this year, becoming all-around and vault champion at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January among a haul of five medals.

The former Gainsborough Primary School pupil also claimed uneven bars and floor bronze and silver in the team event Down Under and is eyeing further success in the Netherlands with the future in mind.

“It would be really good if I could win the competition – it would give me a boost in my dream to go to the next Olympics in Rio in 2016,” said Mattis.

“My goal is to go to the Olympics. I’m a bit nervous about the Festival but I am looking forward to it.

“It will be great to get all the kit and meet new people. I’m very excited.

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“It’s not the first time I have represented Great Britain. I went to the Czech Republic in October for a competition and then winning in Australia was such a great feeling.

“I’m also the women’s junior all-around British champion and recently became the first British gymnast to land the double double on floor.

“It’s a double twisting double back somersault and I did it at a competition in Ipswich against Brazil. Gymnastics is what I want to do, it’s what I want as a career.”

Mattis doesn’t have to look too far to know that she is heading in the right direction with fellow British gymnast Sam Oldham going from the Festival podium to Olympic success.

Oldham won bronze as part of Britain’s men’s team at London 2012 last summer and talented teenager Mattis has been doing all she can to reach top form for the Festival.

“I am training hard at the minute for the Festival, we are doing 26 hours a week,” added Mattis. “Everyone at the club has been really helpful.

“Although I compete in the all-around events the bars are my favourite. I just can’t wait to get out there now.”

The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. For more, see