Northampton gymnast sets her sights on fourth Special Olympics as she prepares to turn 21
Ellie-Bea has been competing since she was around six or seven.
A young gymnast who has already competed in three Special Olympics has set her sights on her fourth Olympic competition.
Ellie-Bea Thomas who has Down Syndrome, won six silver medals when she was selected to represent Great Britain in the European Championships last year.
Now the 20-year-old, who turns 21 next week, is hoping to gain high enough scores in competitions this year to be eligible to compete in the 2021 Special Olympics in Liverpool.
Ellie-Bea’s mum, Anne Thomas, said: “She competes in rhythmic and artistic gymnastics and was selected to represent Great Britain last September in the European Championships in Slovakia.
“She only entered for rhythmic as she has to pick one and she won medals in ball, rope, hoop and ribbon events as well as a silver for best all-round.”
Ellie-Bea, who is from Milton Malsor, trains at Lings Gymnastics Academy in Earls Barton.
Anne added: “They do special classes there and I help coach them.
“Ellie was six or seven when she first started gymnastics.
“It’s fantastic exercise and she has really good mobility. She gets to go to different places and meet different people.”
One thing that has been an issue for Ellie is her glasses and competing in them.
Anne explained: “Ordinary glasses slide down her nose. People with Down Syndrome tend not to have a bridge on their nose, they’re quite flat. So she has to look over the glasses.”
But Anne has found an opticians, Tompkins, Knight & Son Optometrists in Kingsley Road, Northampton that has helped to find the right pair of glasses for Ellie.
She added: “We have been going there for many, many years. We have tried different opticians but we’ve had lenses put on back to front and it was very difficult for her to express what was wrong with them so she was demonstrating that by not wearing them.
“They took it upon themselves to find a solution that would be comfortable for Ellie.
“She’s had a few of these pairs now and they mean she can actually see rather than having to keep pushing her glasses back up.”
“They are really brilliant, I can’t praise them enough. They’re really helpful all the way through the process.”
Recently, the opticians enlisted the help of bespoke designer Tom Davies to make Ellie a unique pair of Union Jack specs and the opticians presented Ellie with her new glasses on Thursday (January 23).
Anne said: “They got Tom Davies to make a bespoke pair to fit on Ellie’s face.
“Ellie is really chuffed with the pair. She’s wearing them today (Friday) to show them off.”
Andrew Oliver from Tompkins, Knight & Son, who personally arranged the bespoke glasses, said: “Ellie-Bea is an incredible young woman who has defied the odds to compete on the international stage.
“She is a long-standing patient of ours and we are all really proud of her success.
“We thought it was only right that she has some frames made in her honour to reflect her achievements and there’s nobody better than Tom Davies to create a bespoke design that not only looks great but also allows her to compete to the very best of her ability.”