Supermarket girl hoping to checkout with gold medal

Rising gymnast Josie Russell will be swapping the aisles of her supermarket for a place on the European stage – and hoping to check out with a gold medal.

The 20 year old from Richmond upon Thames – who juggles her gymnastic training with working part time for Waitrose in Kingston – is celebrating after being selected to represent Team GB in the first ever European Games in Acrobatic Gymnastics.

The inaugural Games will be held in between the 12th – 28th June in Baku, Azerbaijan, where over 6,000 athletes from 50 European countries will take part in the 16 days of competition.

Josie Russell juggles her gymnastic training with working part time for Waitrose in Kingston

Josie Russell juggles her gymnastic training with working part time for Waitrose in Kingston

Josie, who trains at the Richmond Gymnastics Association and works in the Waitrose customer services team at her local branch, will form part of Great Britain’s Acrobatic Gymnastics team with local teammates Jen Bailey and Cicely Irwin, with whom she has performed for the past five years.

Acrobatic gymnastics, or ‘acro’, is a competitive gymnastic discipline where teams of gymnasts perform routines consisting of acrobatic moves, dancing and tumbling.

Josie will form part of Great Britain's Acrobatic Gymnastics team with local teammates Jen Bailey and Cicely Irwin

Josie will form part of Great Britain’s Acrobatic Gymnastics team with local teammates Jen Bailey and Cicely Irwin

Josie said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to represent my country.

“The girls and I have been training so hard over the past few months and I’m delighted that all our hard work has paid off.

“We’ve had a really successful 2015 so far and I’d love nothing more than to add to this with a great performance in Baku.

“Fitting a job around a demanding training schedule has been challenging, but Waitrose have bent over backwards to support me.”

The 20-year-old has been selected to represent Team GB in the first ever European Games in Acrobatic Gymnastics

The 20-year-old has been selected to represent Team GB in the first ever European Games in Acrobatic Gymnastics

Earlier this year, Josie and her team won gold at the FIG Acro World Cup Maia which, after the World and European Championships, is the highest level of competition in Europe.

This followed their impressive first-placed finish in the 2014 British Senior National Championship.

Peter Hook, branch manager of Waitrose, Kingston, said, “All of the Partners at Waitrose were really excited to hear Josie’s selection for Great Britain.

Acrobatic gymnastics is a competitive gymnastic discipline where teams of gymnasts perform routines

Acrobatic gymnastics
is a competitive gymnastic discipline where teams of gymnasts perform routines

“On behalf of everyone I’d like to wish Josie, Jen and Cicely the very best of luck and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a gold medal.”

With less than seven weeks to go before the opening ceremony, the trio are entering the final stages of their preparation.

The trio will fly out to Bulgaria next week for their final pre-Games competition at the Varna World Cup before attending a training camp at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre with the rest of the Team GB gymnastics squad.

Josie said, "I'm absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to represent my country."

Josie said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to represent my country.”