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Woman behind world's best gymnast honoured; Delight as Tweddle's coach is elected to hall of fame.


WHEN Britain's greatestever gymnast became world champion, Amanda Kirby was watching proudly from the sidelines. The Liverpool coach coaxed Beth Tweddle through years of highly-disciplined training to help her get to the top of her game.

But now the mother-of-two has picked up her own award after being named the UK's Female Coach of the Year and inducted into the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.

Speaking from Brazil, where her protegee was competing in the World Cup final event in Sao Paolo, Mrs Kirby said: "This is why you do it. When you help get the best out of someone and see them doing so well, that is the real reward.

"But it is nice to knowwhen your work is being recognised and you are respected by people in the same profession."

Mrs Kirby, from Hunts Cross, who trains gymnasts at the Park Road Gym in Toxteth, continued: "I was delighted when I heard I had won. What an honour."

Originally from Sheffield, Mrs Kirby, who was also a gymnast, said she had always wanted to coach and first began to teach in Brighton.

She came to Liverpool in 1992 after landing a job at the renowned Liverpool gym.

Dozens of high-achieving gymnasts have passed through the gym including Olympian EmmaWilliams, and Melanie Roberts, who competed in the 2006 World Champions. But Mrs Kirby has seen Tweddle through from the beginning.

The 21-year-old Liverpool John Moores University student, who came third in the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, first came to the Toxteth gymat the age of 12.

Two years ago, at the European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, she was poised for glory after the first day.

Then she fell during the warm-up of the A-bars final and woke up in hospital. Seven months ago, she suffered another cruel twist as she fell again in a warmup two days before the start of the Commonwealth

Games in Melbourne. But it was this year when Tweddle really took the gymnastic world by storm. In April, she became the first British gymnast to strike gold at the European Championships.

In October's World Championships in Denmark, she became the best on the planet.

And Mrs Kirby was with woman behind world's best gymnast honoured Delight as Tweddle's coach is elected to hall of fame her all the way. She added: "They have to really want it and, when they want it as much as Beth does, it makes you so proud when they do well. "All the hard work is worth it.

"They have to be so disciplined and give up so much of their own time, and, when you coach them, you are not just there for them in the gym, you are there for them 24/7.

"You have to help them discipline their whole lifestyle, not just their training sessions."

Mrs Kirby was unable to attend this week's Coaching Awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel, in London, because she was working with Tweddle in Brazil. All of the big names in the sports industry, including the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, Lord Sebastian Coe, Sir Clive Woodward and Adrian Moorhouse, attended the event to pay tribute to the coaches' dedication and commitment to their sport.

Mr Caborn said: "Good coaches are crucial if we are going to take sporting talent and develop them into World and

Olympic champions." jessicashaughnessy

Nice to know when your work is being recognised


Beth Tweddle stretches with her coach, Amanda Kirby, at the Park Road Sports Centre, in Toxteth Picture: DAVID RAWCLIFFE' Amanda Kirby' Beth Tweddle in training
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2006
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