A GYMNAST who recently became British champion is set to live her dream by travelling the world.
Peterlee’s Sophie Allen, 10, came across strong competition when she travelled to Birmingham for the British Championships.
But the talented Deerness Valley representative did East Durham proud as she came out on top.
Her dad, Ron, 56, has watched his daughter, a Seascape Primary School student, dedicate herself to years of training with coach Glen Wharton and said he was a “proud man” when he saw Sophie on top of the podium.
He said: “I was overjoyed when I saw her with the medal.
“I was so happy because she puts a lot of work into her training and works very hard to get everything right.
“Sophie is so young but so committed and I know she really wants to compete at the highest level.
“I was over the moon to see her perform and win. But at the minute we have to make sure she gets our full support and can enjoy the gymnastics.
“In years to come, who knows where she might be.”
Sophie, from Elliott Road, Peterlee, was almost ruled out of the competition after fracturing her thumb in training.
Her cast was removed only four weeks before the competition.
She faced 11 other competitors who had qualified through a points system that took in the whole of the UK.
Sophie excelled in the tumbling section of the sport, showing a swift rhythmical succession of acrobatic bounding.
Ron added: “Sophie does not seem to have one aspect of the sport where she is better.
“She seems to be very talented in all the sections of gymnastics. We will probably only see her excel in one of the categories when she gets older and more mature.”
After coming out on top of the North section, she was able to go to the second-city and compete.
Ron added: “It has been a good competition all round and I am delighted.
“The organisation and hard work that goes in is amazing and I am very pleased that my daughter is a part of it.
“Hopefully now there will be more opportunities for Sophie to compete and we will see more awards.”
The next competition for Sophie will take place in Stoke in October.
Ron added: “Preparations will start for the World and European championships which are next year and hopefully we see more success.
“Sophie tries her heart out every time she goes training and nothing will stop that.”