A BILLERICAY schoolgirl with autism has been called up to British Gymnastics’ Rhythmic Disability Performance Squad.
Elizabeth Packman, 11, will now get the chance to attend at regular training camps throughout the year with some of the country’s top coaches in Sidcup, Kent.
It also means the Brightside Primary School pupil will get the chance to compete at a three-day international show at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire at the end of May.
It’s another feather in the cap of one of South Essex Gymnastic Club’s leading lights, who will also defend her national title at the Rhythmic British Championships at Fenton Manor in Stoke in May.
Elizabeth, who lives in Billericay, has a conditions which gives her sensory and social difficulties.
Her condition has been helped greatly by her involvement in gymnastics and she was crowned British Rhythmic Disability Gymnastics champion in Stoke in June last year after she beat off competition from across the country, including girls who were two years older than her in the junior category.
Elizabeth is skilled with the ribbon, ball, hoop and clubs, and her coach Verity Adams says she is a pleasure to work with.
Verity said: “She trains as an Olympian would train. She is so committed and is here at every possible session and fully deserves her success.
“To be invited to that international conference at Lilleshall is a huge achievement and I have already begun preparing her for it now.
“She’ll also get the chance to defend her British title this year, and I’m very confident she will do that.
“Last year she came first in two pieces and I’m sure she’ll do at least as well this year and become overall champion.”
Anyone with a disability who would like to try the sport at the South Essex Gymnastics Club, which is based at the Basildon Sporting Village, can call Verity Adams or the club’s head of disability gymnastics, Dave Rapley, on 01268 722479.