High-flying 'humble' gymnast, 9, top of the tree on county debut

Bethan Ibbotson of Ely wins Cambridgeshire competition

Bethan Ibbotson (left) with her trophy and her coaches after winning at the county gymnastics championships. - Credit: Supplied/Anna Waterfall

The mother of a nine-year-old gymnast believes that with confidence, the only way is up for her daughter after winning silverware in her debut competition. 

Bethan Ibbotson of Ely won the age nine and nine to 10-year-old categories at Zinc Level at the Cambridgeshire County Championships in Yaxley on October 17. 

Bethan came up against 31 other competitors from other clubs in the county, competing across four disciplines: bar, beam, floor and vault. 

“We went there thinking she will be fine and to just have a go,” Anna Waterfall, Bethan’s mother, said. 

“She is genuinely shocked but massively proud of herself, and she wants to get better.” 

Bethan Ibbotson wins Cambridgeshire competition trophy

Bethan Ibbotson with her trophy. - Credit: Supplied/Anna Waterfall

Bethan, who attends Isle of Ely Primary School, was first interested in ballet before the Covid-19 lockdown helped develop an interest in gymnastics. 

After attending a gymnastics club in Littleport, Bethan then moved on to join the Fenland Gymnastics Academy in August last year. 

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“She has absolutely excelled and during lockdown, their training had to change a lot,” Anna said.  

“There were sessions on Zoom, which she committed herself to. 

“At her age to be committed to that activity, it shows her determination she wants to exceed in gymnastics.” 

Bethan will now go on to represent Fenland Gymnastics Academy at the regional championships due to be held at Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club in Ipswich next month. 

Bethan Ibbotson and coaches

Bethan Ibbotson (centre) with coaches from Fenland Gymnastics Academy. - Credit: Supplied/Anna Waterfall

Anna described her daughter as a humble girl, who could act as a role model for friends and pupils at school, as well as other children who are looking to get into sport. 

But despite what she has achieved, the nine-year-old is not one to dwell on success. 

“It’s about doing her best, believing in herself, not putting pressure on herself and to go and enjoy the experience at the regionals,” Anna added. 

“I think she could be a role model for her friends, but Bethan is very humble; she just cracks on and does not want to show off.  

“She’s mentioned the Olympics as this year was the first Games she has engaged with.  

“She said that she could do that, and I think that is massive for her as I think belief has been an issue for her. It’s nice for her to have that confidence about her.”