A DETERMINED Irish dancer from London won the Seamus and Marie Moore Championship despite hurting her foot just days before the competition.
Jessica O’Hara, 12, a dancer from Hopkins Academy of Irish Dance, based in Dulwich, beat other dancers from around the country in the competition, which took place in Hertfordshire on July 16-17.
A hard worker, Jessica attends lessons four times a week and regularly gives up her weekends to travel to competitions, to help her reach her goal of becoming the Great Britain Champion.
“When they called out second place and it wasn’t my number, my heart stopped for a few seconds, I turned to my amazing mum, and burst into tears.
“I had won. It was only my seventh ever championship – I couldn’t believe it.
She added: "I was competing against girls who had been doing championships for years and I had only just starting competing as a novice dancer just over a year ago.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my fabulous dance teachers, Sarah Hopkins and Tony Tyrrell, my dance family from Hopkins Academy, and my real family.
"The support I get is phenomenal. Thanks to everyone at the Hopkins Academy of Irish dance.”
Sarah Hopkins, Jessica’s teacher, said: “The second she walked through my door I knew there was something special about her. I knew she had what it took to be a champion.
“Some may say I push her a little too hard, but having toured the world with Riverdance for five years, I know what it takes to achieve your dreams in this industry.”