Belfast Telegraph

Taeja (15) has bright future after stunning performance

By Mark Staniforth

Two weeks after learning of her surprise late call-up due to injuries, 15-year-old Taeja James marked her major international debut in style in the women's team gymnastics competition at the Commonwealth Games.

England, hit by the respective absences of Ellie Downie, Claudia Fragapane and Amy Tinkler, were edged into silver by winners Canada by just 1.25 points, but their new generation of teen stars rose to the occasion.

Performing the final routine of the competition, James scored 14.1 on the floor, which whilst not being enough to wrest the gold for her team, still saw her qualify for Monday's individual apparatus final in first place.

James said: "I try not to think about the occasion, it's about going out there to do a good routine and counting on my skills.

"I'll go into the final and try to do the same routine and see what happens. Maybe it helped me being called up so late, because I didn't have the time to think about it all so much."

James was embraced by team-mates Georgia-Mae Fenton, Kelly Simm, Lucy Stanhope and Alice Kinsella after her performance, concluding a consistent team display marred only by mistakes on the beam.

Falls by Fenton and Stanhope would ultimately make the difference on the scoreboard although the inexperienced England line-up still finished comfortably ahead of hosts Australia, who edged out Wales for bronze.

Fenton, 17, who reached the uneven bars final at the World Championships in Montreal last year, matched James's feat by qualifying for her favoured apparatus in first place.

Fenton said: "I know what I have to do in the final."

Belfast Telegraph

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