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Carl Field

Carl Field

Women’s artistic gymnast Poppy Stickler hopes to be Birmingham bound this summer – but success achieved already this year has seen her honoured among some Welsh sporting royalty.

Cardiff-born Poppy, who turns 16 on June 12th, was last month named in the Women’s Artistic British Senior Squad for 2022. Her selection followed on from her brilliant bronze medal winning performance on the floor at the Artistic British Championships in Liverpool at the end of March, in what is her first year as a senior gymnast.

Poppy Stickler in action beam at the Artistic British Championships in Liverpool in March 2022.

And that success has now seen her added to the International Hall of Fame wall at Whitchurch High School, where she is a Year 11 student and preparing to sit her GCSEs this summer along with, all being well, representing her country at the Commonwealth Games.

Poppy is now among an illustrious list of names and Welsh sporting greats. Notable alumni from Whitchurch High School include Sam Warburton, Gareth Bale and Geraint Thomas.

“I feel honoured to be put up on the wall of fame along with so many amazing faces,” said Poppy on her achievement.

“It means a lot knowing my school are proud of me and want to celebrate my achievements. My teachers have been extremely supportive throughout my high school education, allowing me to catch up on work I have missed and extending deadlines for me in order to continue my training and accomplish my goals.”

Poppy at her school.

Earlier this year Poppy made her senior bow at the Welsh Artistic Championships in Cardiff, winning gold on the floor and silver in the all-around.

Also a former British Championship medallist in both the espoir and junior categories, Poppy helped Wales win women’s team gold at the Northern Europeans in Iceland in 2019.

Meanwhile this week we caught up with some of the people who have also helped steer Poppy on the path to success, in and out of the gym.

Mr Mark Powell, Headteacher, said: “We at Whitchurch High School are extremely proud of Poppy’s outstanding achievements in gymnastics.

“To see her represent her country with such great success at such a young age, whilst balancing the demands of a challenging year of her education, is testament to her commitment, hard work and talent.  She is an inspiration to us all. 

“Poppy’s place in the Whitchurch Hall of Fame alongside the likes of Sam Warburton, Gareth Bale and Geraint Thomas is richly deserved. 

“We wish her all the very best for gymnastic success in the years to come and we look forward to applauding her future achievements.”

WAG National Coach Olivia Bryl, who is also Poppy’s personal coach, said: “We are very proud of Poppy’s recent induction into the WHS International Hall of Fame.

“Poppy has matured into a great role model, inspiring the next generation. She brings a lot of energy to the group, has always worked hard as a gymnast, and has the full support from her family.

“It was great to see her named as part of the British Gymnastics Senior Squad after being part of the squad system from the age of nine years old.

“Poppy started her gymnastics at Capital Academy of Gymnastics and from an early age came into the centralised programme, but has always kept a great relationship with her first club and coaches – and I know they are also proud of how far she has come.”

WAG Head National Coach Tracey Skirton-Davies said: “I am so immensely proud of Poppy; she works hard in all aspects of her life as a scholar, gymnast and as a role model.

“We are very grateful to Whitchurch High School who we have had close links with for many years; it’s a school which allows athletes to to realise their best academic potential along with allowing them to reach their sporting potential.

“We wish Poppy continued success as she heads into a year full of opportunities.”

Poppy’s mother, Sian, said: “We are extremely proud of Poppy and all that she has achieved; her drive, focus and dedication amazes us every day.”

Poppy Stickler is now part of the Whitchurch High School Hall of Fame.

Mrs Jane Humpage, PE Teacher, at Whitchurch said: “Poppy is an incredibly hard working, grounded and humble student. Her achievements so far in gymnastics have been outstanding and something she rarely talks about unless probed. 

“Her drive to succeed in school is incredible, considering all the hours of dedicated training she has to complete every week. The way in which she can balance her commitments is truly admirable, she is a fantastic role model for both staff and students.

“Nothing is too much trouble; she is always willing to participate in different activities and she is always smiling.”

Mr Adam Webb, Learning Leader to Year 11, said: “Poppy has done amazingly this year with her gymnastics and should be incredibly proud of her achievements.

“More importantly, Poppy is an excellent role model to her peers at Whitchurch, showing not just an amazing talent but showcasing what hard work and dedication can result in.” 

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