MELANIE Evans may only be nine years old but she is already being tipped as an Olympic star of the future.
And she was jumping for joy when she clinched the North West Gymnastics Championship title on Saturday.
She clinched top spot in her category, grade six, after impressing judges with her skills at the regional finals in Stalybridge, Manchester.
Melanie, who is coming on leaps and bounds after taking up the sport just 18 months ago, has already taken the Lancashire championship title and last month won four gold medals and a silver at the Isle of Man invitation competition.
Her delighted dad, Gordon, said: "She used to do handstands in the house but we never thought it would lead to this. She is doing fantastic and we're really proud of her.''
Melanie trains at Hyndburn Sports Centre and Blackpool Sports Centre six nights a week but despite her success, her dad says she has her feet firmly on the ground.
He added: "I don't know if she will pursue this as a career. She's just enjoying herself and she's got the rest of her life ahead of her. It will really be up to her coach where she goes next and if she goes up to compete on a national level."
A pupil at Benjamin Hargreaves Primary School, Accrington, Mel-anie lives with her mum Diane and dad and her three older brothers Andrew, Steven and Paul.