JADE Faulkner’s return to individual competition proved a resounding success as she scooped glory in the Netherlands last weekend.
The 19-year-old was a member of the group that made history in 2012 by becoming the first Great Britain rhythmic gymnastics team to compete at an Olympics.
Members of the group went their separate ways after the event but Faulkner elected to carry on as an individual.
The City of Bath athlete competed in the Attila Cup in Utrecht at the weekend - her first individual competition in three years - and surprised herself by emerging triumphant following her hoop and ball routines.
“I started training with the Great Britain group in 2011, so this was my first individual competition since 2010,” said Faulkner, who attends Hayesfield School sixth form in Bath.
“It was really strange especially travelling on my own, and I wasn’t really sure how I'd do having been out of individuals for so long.
“I made a couple of mistakes in both routines so I will have to make sure I iron them out next time.
“With every competition you need to learn from those, but my coach (Sarah Moon) was really happy with how I did.”
Faulkner has her sights set on a place in the England setup for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where there are individual and team competitions but no group event.
“I’m hoping to get to the Commonwealths, but it’s not going to be easy,” said Faulkner, who is currently juggling her A-levels with training.
“I’ve still got some catching up to do, I’ve got another year of training and hopefully that will get me through.”
Moon, who coached the GB rhythmic group to London 2012 and is head coach of the City of Bath Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, revealed it was important for Faulkner to return to the competitive arena.
“Jade hasn’t really competed since London 2012,” said Moon. “We wanted to get her back on the horse again and back into the mindset for competition.”
Faulkner is next in international action when she travels to Gibraltar next weekend.
The qualification process for the Commonwealth Games is yet to be finalised, but qualifiers are expected to take place next year.