A SCHOOLGIRL has become one of the country’s top 12 female gymnasts after winning a place on the senior Great Britain gymnastics squad.

Now Jess Daykin, from High Street, Littleton Panell, is keeping her fingers crossed that she will be picked for one of the four coveted squad places for the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Jess, 17, has been a member of the England Gymnastics squad for four years and competed both nationally and internationally last year.

She admits that she was both “shocked and surprised” to be selected for the senior GB squad following her recent competitive gymnastics successes.

“I’m just going to work hard and go out and perform to the best of my ability,” the Devizes sixth Form and Lavington School pupil said.

Head of Devizes 6th Form Clare Dale said: “This is a phenomenal achievement by Jess. She absolutely belongs in the GB line-up as the pro she is. We are so proud of her.”

Her selection is no surprise to Gill Ford, 38, the head coach at the Wiltshire School of Gymnastics at Bowerhill, where Jess trains 28 hours a week.

Gill said: “We found out the week before last that Jess had been invited to train with the senior GB squad until April next year.

“She is now among the top 12 female gymnasts in the country, competing against all the well-known names on the regional, national and international circuit.

“She now has a one in three chance of being chosen to go to next year’s Olympic Games.

“As a newbie she has still got a long way to go, but with determination and commitment there’s no reason why she can’t make it.”

This year Jess has gone from strength to strength, coming fifth overall at the English Championships and winning a bronze medal on beam.

She won the prestigious Rushmore Rosebowl and came second in the Leverkusen Cup in Germany.

She then competed at the British Championships at the Echo Arena in Liverpool against the Olympic, Commonwealth and European medallist Ellie Downie and finished in 7th place overall.

Jess made the beam and floor finals and was reserve for bars. She finished the competition winning a silver medal on beam and was placed 8th on floor.

As a result of these outstanding performances, Jess was invited to attend a five-day long GB Senior Squad Camp at the National Training Centre in Lilleshall, where her fitness was tested.

Ms Dale added: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for Jess and we are really proud of her achievements.”

Jess is studying biology, psychology and physical education at A level, and is a cousin of Dragon’s Den young entrepreneur Jordan Daykin, the managing director of Grip-it Fixings in Melksham.

At only 5ft high and weighing seven stone, she comes from a sporty family and is supported by mum and dad, Helen and Paul Daykin.

Two of her three sisters Chloe, 20, Danielle, 18, also studied gymnastics at the Wiltshire School of Gymnastics. She has an elder brother, Jake, 22, and a younger sister, Tamsin, aged14.