GYMNASTICS: THE Olympic ambitions of Beth Tweddle and Melanie Roberts are burning brightly today following a sensational British team performance at the World Championships in California.
Eighteen-year-old Beth, who lives in Bunbury, helped Great Britain's unfancied injury-hit women's team to finish ninth to qualify for next year's Olympic Games in Athens.
And although Melanie, a 15-year-old St David's High School, Saltney pupil, was only a reserve she will now have 12 months to force her way into the team to compete in Greece.
While Britain's men flopped in Anaheim the girls sparkled. Their ninth place in qualification wasn't high enough to get them into the team final on Wednesday, but it equalled their performance in the last world championships. And with China competing this time their achievement was considered extra special.
In a tense and very tough competition, where even the best nations suffered major mistakes and falls from apparatus, the British went through their routines without the slightest hiccup from their first apparatus, the bars, to their last, the vault.
Commonwealth champion Beth, the only gymnast in the team with previous experience at these championships, could only compete on the beam and her specialist event, the asymmetric bars, because of an ankle injury. She finished ninth on bars with a score of 9.525, to qualify for tomorrow's individual apparatus final.
Said coach Zoltan Jordanov: 'Our dream has come true! It was a great day for us and I am proud of the achievement of our girls. Hard work has paid back!'