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Whelan Willing, Able To Step Up at Europeans
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Although team star Beth Tweddle will miss this week's European championships following knee surgery, two-time British national all-around champion Hannah Whelan told IG that she and the rest of the squad are focused on defending their silver medal in the team competition.

Hannah Whelan (Great Britain)

"It will not be an easy task due to the strength of the other European teams, and we are also missing our team captain, Beth," said Whelan of Europeans, which will take place May 9-13 in Brussels. "We have been working really hard, and our aim is to compete as best we can and hit the routines we have been practicing in training."

Whelan, a 2008 Olympian, said she also considers Brussels to be important as she readies herself for this summer's Olympic Games in London.

"Europeans is a key stepping stone in my preparation for the Olympics, and the whole team and I have been working extremely hard at Lilleshall (British national training center)," said Whelan, who is coached by 1984 Olympian Amanda Harrison Reddin. "I totally trust Amanda. She knows exactly what she wants me to do and what needs to be in my training program in order for me to have a successful year."

Whelan said she is confident she can serve as a team leader in Brussels, especially in Tweddle's absence. The 27-year-old Tweddle, a three-time world apparatus champion, has won 11 medals at Europeans, including seven golds.

"It is a shame that Beth is missing out on Europeans, but her main priority is to get fit for the summer and she is recovering well," Whelan said. "I am lucky to have the experience behind me now to support and lead the rest of the team, and to make it enjoyable for the younger and less-experienced team members."

Whelan said her plans for Brussels include team and personal success.

"My priority for Europeans is to help the team achieve a good result in the team final," she told IG. "Individually it would be great if I made a final or two. As I said, my main goals are to help the team the best I can by hitting the routines I have been practicing in training."

External Link: British Gymnastics

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