Whaley Bridge gymnast Jenni Pinches, 18, competed against some of the world’s elite at the London Olympics, helping her Team GB squad reach the finals. She also cheered the success of her friend and captain, Beth Tweddle, who was the top qualifier for the individual parallel bars final, with the serious prospect of a medal. .
Jenni, was supported by her delighted familiy, including her three younger brothers and grandad, a former Baptist minister in Devon, in the North Greeenwich Arena. Back in the High Peak, thousands of people were glued to TV’s all-day coverage. Jenni looked happy and confident throughout.
The team finished in fifth place in the artistic qualifications, with a buoyant performance that showed how they have advanced since the Beijing Olympics, where they were ninth.
Jenni has done most of her training at Liverpool, alongside three times world champion Beth Tweddle. Along with all the squad, Jenni was overjoyed at Beth’s No 1 individual qualification. The 27 year old captain from Cheshire feared three months ago that her Olympic hopes were over, as she underwent a serious knee operation. She described her qualification as ‘the best feeling in the world’.
Jenni went off to Greenwich with good wishes from Whaley Bridge. Neighbours had put up a makeshift banner at the Chapel entrance to the town, and the local council sent her a message of good wishes.
Jenni has been a gymnast since she was nine. She is said to have become interested in the sport after seeing a clip on Teletubbies! Her dad Ian, who runs a management consultancy business from home, also plays drums and lead guitar in the band. Hotblack, which recently performed at the Whaley Water Weekend. Another member is singer Andy Ross, Jenni’s uncle – ‘always ready to sing her praises’.
Jenni took part in the world championships in Tokyo last autumn, playing a key part in the British team’s qualification for the Olympics. She has taken a year out from her A level course at King’s School. Macclesfield, because of the time spent in training, and will return to complete her A levels in the new school year starting in September.
Head of the school’s sixth form, Ruth Roberts, said: “The school has been glued to Jennifer’s performances and we are thrilled for her success.”