GYMNASTS have been rewarded for their dedication to training by claiming their first national titles.

Alisha Evanson and Emily Ebbage, both of them members of Cheshire Gymnastics at Moss Farm, were crowned as champions in their respective categories during the English Silver Tumbling Championships.

"Neither of them knew what to expect," said coach Mark Hudson.

"But to do as well as they have will boost their confidence for future competitions."

Emily was the pick of the field in the under 12s girls' age-group category.

She travelled to Telford principally to gain experience, but produced her best tumbles to take gold ahead of Kate Robson (Wirral Gymnastics).

Hudson said: "She felt nervous beforehand, but really enjoyed the music and razzmatazz associated with a national championships.

"That helped to calm her."

Alisha surprised a field that included more experienced rivals to win by a near five-point margin in the senior women's class.

The teenager's feat is made more remarkable by the fact she has had to restrict time spent in the gym while recovering from a series of injuries.

A list includes a broken collarbone.

Hudson told the Guardian: "It was Alisha's first competition at elite level and she didn't really know what to expect until she got there.

"But she was calm and confident, knowing that if she landed all of her tumbled then she would give herself the best chance of picking up a medal."