It’s never too late to succeed in Gymnastics.
A 44-year-old dentist from Northern Ireland has proved it’s never too late to succeed in the sport of gymnastics. Giving real hope to those who have kept themselves reasonably fit, and feel they’d like to have that successful competition feeling. Ursula Goode had been attending the Sika club in Coleraine one night a week simply to keep her fitness levels up. The Mother of four saw gymnastics as a hobby, until an eagle eyed coach encouraged her to take everything more seriously.
Ursula, who runs a dental surgery in Coleraine with husband Ben, a triathlete, was then urged by Mary Robinson to enter the British Championships. She said: “I had done recreational gymnastics for a few years in my teens but I never competed at any real level because I had entered into the sport too late. However, when I thought about what Mary said about the British championships, I eventually decided to go for it, though winning medals was never really on my mind.”
Mary introduced a very intensive training programme and Ursula began to work incredibly hard, and her techniques began to improve and she did start to feel much fitter. She increased the sessions from one to five nights each week as the championships drew closer.
Ursula was a bit worried about the vault section of the routine and wasn’t completely confident with her handspring. Arriving at Lilleshall she was naturally a little apprehensive as the competition began. She was faced with the vault, beams, floor and bars, but once things got underway Ursula just went for it. She added: “I remember telling myself on the run-up that I had to do this well because I would probably never get the chance again. Mary was standing next to the vault just in case something went wrong but in the end I didn’t need her. I didn’t fall off.” This was probably the most testing five hours for her, and even as the time passed the thought of winning never entered her head. It was to be another two and a half hours before things began to happen, but Ursula was happy she’d met the challenge and had really achieved something. She takes up the story: “We were marched into the stadium to hear the results. And after the names of the winners of the silver and bronze medals were read out, I thought ‘oh well, at least I gave it my best shot.’ I knew I hadn’t let myself down.”
The Results Are In
Next came the stuff dreams are made of as the announcer got to the climax of the results. Out came her name as the gold medal winner, and she was left absolutely stunned and understandably emotional. Still pinching herself on the podium British Olympian Bryony Page, who won a silver trampoline medal in Rio last year, presented her with the all important medal. Ursula couldn’t wait to telephone her children Oliver (7), Grace (9), Beth (12) and Lily (14), to tell them their mum was a British Champion.
Ursula was adjudged the best competitor in the over-40s novice section at the championships at the National Sports Centre near Birmingham, the home of British gymnastics. She recently had the opportunity to show her gold medal to Matt Baker, the presenter of the BBC’s One Show during the programme’s visit to Portrush.
As for progress, how about preparing to return to Lilleshall next year to compete in the intermediate level of the British championships? The answer of course has been a resounding yes.