Caister girl’s national honours

A TALENTED sportswoman has seen her confidence transformed after representing her country on the international stage.

Gemma Newson, of Caister, has returned from the first Deaf Women’s European Championships in Bulgaria where she played goalkeeper for the Great Britain women’s deaf football team.

And the 19-year-old’s first international outing saw her team securing third place, bagging her a bronze medal.

Mum Debbie said she was extremely proud to see her daughter develop from a football-keen youngster into a fully-fledged international player.

“I am very proud of her because she has not been a confident person recently, but this success has really given her a boost,” Mrs Newson said. “Gemma said she was very nervous about playing – especially because she was the goalkeeper and a lot of responsibility rested on her shoulders.

“But the team were really supportive and the coach said she was a great goalkeeper. They said they were very glad to have her in the team.”

The competition saw Great Britain facing teams from throughout Europe including Russia and familiar football foes, Germany.

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During each game hearing aids were banned and only sign language was allowed in a bid to make it even for each player.

But this proved an even greater challenge for Gemma who knows little sign language and relies predominantly on lip-reading to get by.

Despite this slight communication barrier, she is keen to carry on playing at the highest level.

Debbie said: “The next thing for Gemma is to make sure she is selected for the Great British team again, before attending university later this year.”

She added: “Gemma thanks Mex Carlos, director of physical education at Caister High School, for all his support because she would not have got to where she is now without his help.”

Gemma was born deaf and attended Caister junior and high schools, and East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

She is on a gap year, but is getting set to begin a degree in sports and exercise science at Bedford University.