British Gymnastics is currently enjoying something of a golden era – and the emergence of Taeja James, from the City of Birmingham Gymnastics club, ensures that it’s likely to continue for some time to come.

The 15-year-old Nottingham-born gymnast dominated this year’s British Championships at Liverpool’s Echo Arena back in March, winning the all-round title and showing just why she’s one of the UK’s most highly-rated young sportspeople.

Taeja had already given plenty of notice of her considerable potential by helping Great Britain to a silver in the team event at last year’s European Gymnastic championships in Berne.

She brought that form into domestic gymnastics’ most prestigious event earlier this year.

“I’m really, really happy to be British junior champion,” she said after scooping gold in the all-round event at the British Championships.

“It’s amazing to compete here in Liverpool.” But there was still more silverware coming her way.

She topped the podium on the bar, the vault and floor and then followed that up with a silver on the beam to cap a memorable three days on Merseyside.

Combining both her gymnastics career and her schooling, however, is no easy task.

“We train for 24 hours per week over five days,” she says.

“We do two double sessions and three single sessions. We have Thursdays and Sundays off and these days I usually use to catch up on homework or any work I’ve missed on the days I leave school early.”

It’s clearly a balancing act but that’s hardly a skill that is alien to a teenager who stands out in a generation of enormously gifted British gymnasts.

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are still three years off, but Taeja appears destined to fulfil her potential at the very highest level.

With her leading the way, British gymnastics is in safe hands.

Britain is blessed with an outstanding group of gymnasts at the moment, and the emergence of another potential star like Taeja means our current success is set to continue. She has undoubted talent, and a fierce work ethic to make the most of it.Pride of Sport judges


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