A 10-year-old girl from Sheffield has struck gold after making the jump from diving to trampolining.
Eliza Saxton, from Parkhead, changed sports in early 2013 having had diving lessons at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre for around 12 months.
She has since discovered natural trampolining ability, winning the gold medal at Level Four for girls aged 9-10 at the British Regional Finals 2014.
Eliza first started diving at Ponds Forge when she was just seven years old through a talent identification scheme when she was at Dobcroft Junior School.
Eliza’s mum, Naomi, who works for South Yorkshire Police, said: “The talent identifiers go to a number of schools in the region and look at a number of different ages, but it’s very hard to get into so she was very pleased when she did.”
It was around a year later however, at the age of eight, when Eliza realised that she didn’t like certain aspects of the sport.
Naomi added: “The problem she has is that she didn’t like going in backwards off a higher board.
“She loved training in the dry area but struggled to translate the skills to water.”
It was at that point in February 2013 that Eliza stopped diving and just over two months later took up trampolining.
By making the switch, Eliza has followed in the footsteps of SCT Trampolining Academy’s Philip Jackson, who also swapped the diving board for the trampoline and went on become the highest ranked Great Britain junior male trampoline athlete in Europe.
Eliza’s success in her new sport would surprise some - but not mum Naomi.
She added: “Not many people are aware of the link between the two sports, but there is a natural progression.
“I’m extremely pleased she found something that she could do and is confident doing.
“She now trains four times a week and it’s fantastic to see the way she’s been nurtured at Ponds Forge after changing to trampolining.
“Everybody could see her potential so it’s fantastic the way that that potential has been turned into success.”
Paul Greaves, head of trampolining at SCT, said: “It was fantastic to see Eliza swap the diving board for the trampoline and enjoy just as much success.
“I’m surprised more people don’t see the connection between the two sports, but I’m glad that Eliza found a sport she was a bit more comfortable with.
“However, Eliza’s case isn’t unique to Ponds Forge - we’re very proud to play host to a successful team of trampolinists so we were more than happy to come to Eliza’s aid and add her to an already brilliant and talented squad.”
For more information about trampolining in Sheffield visit www.sivltd.com/trampolining<http://www.sivltd.com/trampolining>.