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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Gymnastics Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Holly plans to upset Ivy league
Holly Murdock
Murdock aims to overturn the established order
Holly Murdock is on something of a one-woman crusade to take on the rest of the Commonwealth.

In a sport dominated by England, Australia and to a lesser degree Canada, the Northern Irish gymnast is hoping to break the mould.

A beam and vault specialist, she is in contention for a medal in both events and the all-around.

And, in the current world rankings she is rated 14th - the highest of any British, or Commonwealth, gymnast for that matter.

The 18-year-old told BBC Sport Online: "All I hear is people going on about competitors from Australia and England. It would be nice to see someone else causing a stir and break up the party."

open quote
My personal goal is simple - to get a medal of any kind
end quote
Holly Murdock

And Murdock has already done just that.

At the age of just 14, she was selected to represent her country at the Commonwealth Games.

In the all-around event she was lying a remarkable fifth with just her second vault to go when she slipped and fell well out of contention.

She recalled: "When my hand slipped on the vault it was very frustrating and disappointing.

"But I've got a lot more experience now from that and having been to two world championships."

Apart from a wealth of talented competition from the leading trio of Commonwealth countries, Murdock's other major obstacle is her back.

Twice she has been forced to pull out of major competitions recently due to back spasms but she has since been given the all clear.

Murdock factfile
DOB: 6/12/83
Home: Derriaghy, NI
Training HQ: Salto Gymnastics Club
Favourite apparatus: Beam

Despite confidence that the problem will not hamper her Commonwealth Games progress, the gold medal contender is downplaying her ambitions.

"My personal goal is simple - to get a medal of any kind," she confessed. "I don't mind what colour it is.

"And I feel that people are expecting something from me, and because of that, I aim to come back with something.

"The fact that it's a home crowd should be enough to give me the required boost to succeed."

Murdock's coach and the Northern Irish national coach, Tony Byrne, has greater belief in the teenager's ability.

Of his most talented athlete, Byrne said: "She has a strong amount of natural ability and she's always been a good worker - that's never been a problem.

"Her attitude is that she would love to have a medal no matter what it is and she should easily achieve that goal."

More's the pity for the English, Australians and Canadians.

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See also:

05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
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