SUCCESSFUL former gymnast Farrah Jones has told of her joy at watching her 14-year-old daughter Danielle Jones clinch a gold medal at the World Games in tandem with partner Shanie-Redd Thorne, writes Simon Parkinson.
The South Gloucestershire pairing were competing in the senior women’s section of the acrobatic gymnastics event at the Cali showpiece in Colombia, where their first-class performances in the balance and dynamic routines earned them a place in the combined final.
There they saw off stiff challenges from Ukraine (silver) and Belarus (bronze) to earn Great Britain a first-ever gold in acrobatic gymnastics competition at the games.
Both girls have already enjoyed a glittering career with the Yate-based King Edmund Gym Club, which boasts around 1,000 members and is currently in the throes of a big and ambitious move to Yate Leisure Centre.
British champions Danielle, from Chipping Sodbury, and Shanie-Redd, from Yate, are ranked second in the world in their class, having clinched a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Orlando last year and secured silver and bronze medals in two World Cup events earlier this year.
Farrah herself claimed bronze in the Junior World Championships in Beijing in the early 90s and she stayed up well into the early hours of the morning to watch, via an internet link on their television set, her golden girl, a pupil at Yate International Academy, reach the summit with the help of established 16-year-old acro-star Shanie-Redd.
Farrah, who lost her voice in cheering on her daughter from their Sodbury home, glowed: “It was very emotional and we all feel proud and overwhelmed about what has happened.
“The World Games is such a big event – it’s an Olympic-equivalent for non-Olympic sports – and for the girls to perform as they did to such heights was just amazing.
“There were around 15 of us – family, including my husband Paul; King Edmund coaches and friends – watching with us and it was extremely tense and exciting.”
Meanwhile Shanie-Redd was cheered on at the atmospheric Cali arena by her own proud parents, Great Britain and King Edmund coach Nikki Thorne, and father Mark Thorne, who is a director of the Yate club.
He said: “It truly was a rollercoaster of emotions. Our girls were last out in the final and they reduced the Ukrainian pair to tears as they pushed them back into silver.
“The crowd really took to Danielle and Shanie-Redd too as the music accompanying them in the second routine was a highly-popular Columbian folk tune, which had the spectators clapping so loudly they had to turn up the sound system!
“It is one year on from the Olympics and members of the Great Britain national teams are still not disappointing on the world stage.”
In another intriguing family link, Shanie-Redd’s gold sparked memories of her sister Maiken’s achievements at the World Games in Taiwan in 2009, when she and Mollie Grehan did superbly well to win a bronze medal for GB.
Mark enthused: “It’s amazing that sisters have won medals in consecutive games.”
Thrilled mum Nikki added: “The girls’ gold is a truly fantastic achievement and it shows that if you want something badly enough and are prepared to put in total commitment, you can make your dreams happen.
“Credit, though, must go to all the parents, coaches and staff for the dedicated and enthusiastic way they have supported the girls.”
Shanie-Redd and Danielle have little chance to take in the enormity of their success, however, as they will be preparing hard on their return to Yate for the European Championships in Portugal this October.