Catching up with British bars & beam champion Tyesha Mattis - British Gymnastics

Catching up with British bars & beam champion Tyesha Mattis

Tyesha 2015 catch upIn 2013, Tyesha Mattis from East London Gymnastics Club was taking the junior gymnastics world by storm. Coached by Lorraine Atkinson, she was crowned the Junior British all-around champion and took the Youth Olympic all-around title performing multiple skills beyond her years.

Unfortunately in 2014 after taking the Junior English all-around title, Tyesha suffered an injury to her ankle which left her out of competition for the rest of the season, including the European Championships and Youth Olympics.

After a long Rehab, Tyesha returned to competition this year taking English uneven bars silver and British uneven bars and beam gold in her first year in senior competition.

We caught up with the 16 year old to find out what she’s been up to, when she’ll be returning to all-around competition and what she hopes to achieve over the next crucial year…

“I’ve just started vaulting again and I have begun tumbling again onto soft mats but I’m just on small reps as I’ve only just started. My injury has meant I have spent a lot of time on bars which means I’m doing more and more skills on this apparatus. On beam I’m doing pretty much everything and I am beginning to get my dismounts back now too. Long term I want to get my Amanar on vault, I can do it but I haven’t been able to compete it yet. I have done it once or twice at Lilleshall (National training centre) onto level mats but I haven’t been able to do it since because I have been injured.”

Although Tyesha isn’t quite back to full fitness yet on all apparatus she is proving even at this stage she is one to watch and is determined to be back on the scene very soon…

“It was a bit more pressure only competing bars and beam at this year’s British but I also hadn’t competed in a while, it was my first serious competition so I wanted to just see what happened.  I did well and I was really pleased with myself. Hopefully by Christmas I will get all my skills back or by January at the latest. I’m then looking to be back competing four pieces for both the English Championships and British Championships in March 2016. “

Tyesha tells us how she kept motivated during her time away from the sport….

“I just thought about how much hard work I’d put in already and I didn’t want that to go to waste. I knew I had potential to go places so I kept pushing myself to get back. The physiotherapists from the English Institute of Sport (EIS) have been really helpful at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre and made me a programme. Every six weeks I get new one so I improve on what I’ve already done. My programme they sent me two weeks ago is already quite easy for me as my ankle has already moved on quite a lot in my gymnastics. So the more I move on the less rehab and more gymnastics I do.”

Whilst Tyesha continues to push forward in her gymnastics career it seems there is another Mattis on the scene in the form of China, her younger sister…

“My sister is doing well in her gymnastics; she just needs to concentrate more! She’s 10 and sometimes she’s a bit scared of a few moves but she’s coming along really well. I have to remember that when I have my bad days that she is watching me because we train together in the same gym, so I need to make sure I work hard as she looks up to me. She’s more flexible than I am but she’s still powerful like me. When I watch her on the vault she runs like me too and she looks exactly like me – it’s quite scary! She’s got great potential.”

Although it has been a tough road for Tyesha, she remains positive and is excited to make an impact on the gymnastics world again but this time as a senior ahead of Rio…

“I think my injury has definitely helped me improve my beam and bars as I have had lots of time to work on them. Hopefully when I get my four pieces back, I will be stronger and get higher scores all-around. I’m not trialling for worlds this year, my main goal is to get to Rio so I’m going to take it slow and gradually build back up.”