A 11-year-old former Garstang gymnast is jumping for joy after tumbling and turning her way into the French Women’s Artistic National Championships.
Originally from Penwortham in Preston, Madelaine Routledge relocated to France three years ago and is now honing her talents in the Loire Valley in central France.
Madelaine competes in many events including the vault, the parallel bars and the beam and is now focused on getting even further.
Her mum Angela says their move to France was to find a “laid-back lifestyle” but believes it has done wonders for Madelaine’s training.
She said: “Madelaine started doing gymnastics just for fun when we lived in Preston. We’ve never pushed her to do anything else but enjoy it.
“We decided to keep the house but move to France for a different lifestyle and it’s been so good for Madelaine because the training over here is excellent.”
Before moving, Madelaine trained at Garstang School of Gymnastics and Preston Trampoline Centre and often makes trips back to Preston to visit her “number one fan” – her grandma, Barbara Routledge.
The former Goosnargh St Francis’ Catholic Primary School pupil and her parents, retired police officer Angela and tax office trader Chris, left their life in Penwortham and headed for Dijon, the capital city of the Burgundy region in eastern France.
“Dijon didn’t have the lifestyle we wanted, it was a busy city,” Angela said. “But it was great for Madelaine and her training.
“Her strength is on the bar, she doesn’t have any fear.”
Madelaine now trains five times a week and although her talents have taken her to the top of French gymnastics for her age, Angela just hopes she keeps having fun.
“I’m not sure what the future holds,” she said. “She’s has lots of strengths but also some weaknesses.
“We’ll always encourage to keep going if she’s enjoying it but that’s what’s most important, having fun.”