An Ilkeston artistic gymnast has set her sights high at the IAIGC World Championship this month.
Kiera Warhurst will represent club and country at the competition in Florida, USA, against the cream of world gymnastics talent.
The 12-year-old will demonstrate her abilities on the floor, bars, beams and vault at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.
The Mickleover Gymnastics Club member reached the championship after taking gold in a UK qualifier in October of last year.
Kiera will compete in the Silver Level for her age group.
Head of women’s artistic gymnastics at the Mickleover club, Laura Reynolds, has known Kiera for two years.
She said: “She is very enthusiastic. She is always smiling and in the gym. She’s a great trainer and has upped her sessions to 12 hours a week in preparation.
“She is confident and super excited to compete. Kiera and the other three girls competing have raised their own funds to be there through various events.”
Kiera first got a taste for the sport six years ago and joined Gymtastics Gymnastics in Ilkeston. Her hunger and drive to do more hours in the gym led to her joining Ilkeston Gymnastics.
She first started competing from the age of eight and has taken off from there. Ahead of her first World Championship, Kiera and her three club-mates Millie Thomas, Ceri Amison and Amelia Finnegan have been busy fundraising for their trip.
Accommodation and flights cost upwards of £1,400 each for the time they are over in America, before taking in to consideration transport, kits, food and other expenses.
The family are appreciative of the support they received from all who donated, including Trailor Service and Repair Ltd, who sponsored the kits and tracksuits, Specsavers in Derby and Bates Weston Accountants, who both paid £500 a piece for a banner at the club, which has contributed to the cost of competing.
Kiera’s mum Gina believes all their hard work is starting to pay off.
She said: “Kiera has always had to work hard and she has worked really hard to get to the point she is at. She has a real passion for it and that shines through.
“There’s a determination in all of them to get up after a fall and go again - you really need that as a gymnast because sometimes it can take some practice to get everything right.
“Kiera has always been quite flexible and has an ability to keep going, keep pushing herself on to be better. We’re all so very proud of her, the whole family is right behind her. It’s not easy by a long shot. What they do takes a lot of practice and time in the gym. We’re proud of them all. It’ll be a fantastic experience and we hope they manage to enjoy it too!”