A THATCHAM schoolgirl is in pole position to represent Great Britain at pole dancing, or poling.
Mimi James is the youngest person to guest perform at the UK Pole Professional Championships.
The 10-year-old was also the first child to perform at the preliminaries for the World Pole Dance Championships.
Now the pole prodigy has representing her country in her sights.
Mimi started learning how to pole when she was six years old after seeing fitness classes going on next door to her mother’s – Kelly James – hair salon.
Mrs James said her daughter would comment that the women were lucky as they had the strength to go upside down and that Mimi kept on about having a go herself.
Mrs James said that she initially had reservations about her daughter performing pole.
“Pole dancing and a child – what?
“No, never... However, I had my eyes opened when I realised that these ladies where just taking part in a fitness class.
“There was nothing that would be wrong for a child to do as it was just like gymnastics.”
Her daughter’s perseverance paid off and her mother and instructor Ruth Vass at Spin City Brimpton agreed she could have a try out.
Mimi was hooked and, after an early break owing to hurting herself during falls, people noticed that she was a natural.
“She had no fear, didn't care that quite a few of the moves hurt until she conditioned her skin to be used to it and it has really spiraled from there,” said Mrs James.
Mimi came second at the Newbury Talent show where she performed in memory of her grandfather who died in 2007.
Mrs James said that her daughter has had to conquer people’s discrimination over the years.
She said: “She has had kids being horrible to her, telling her she will grow up to be a stripper.
“I am sure it is just down to jealousy but my answer to everyone is Mimi is happy, extremely healthy, focused on her future and extremely dedicated to her sport.”
Indeed, Mimi's future is looking up as she is training with some of the best polers in the industry and is looking to compete in the UK Pole Sports next year.
Qualification would see her go on to represent Great Britain at the World Pole Sports Championships in London in July.
Mrs James thanked everyone who had supported her daughter on her successful run.
She said: “I never thought in a million years when the doctors handed me my daughter for the first time that she would dream of one day becoming the world champion in pole fitness but she does and my husband and I will support her however we can.”