Wales is set to be represented in the World Baton Twirling Championships for the first time ever by four Carmarthenshire girls.

Steffanie Bowdler, from Tumble, is preparing to head to Norway for the competition in March and will be joined by 12-year-old Francesca Thomas, 10-year-old Mia Kirby and 12-year-old Maddie Montgomery.

The girls were originally asked to represent England due to their ability in the sport, but they are now members of National Baton Twirling Association Cymru (NBTA Cymru).

NBTA Cymru chairwoman Jessica Shore said: “There wasn’t a team set up for Wales so we went to the NBTA Europe and put a case together which was approved in October.”

The group were delighted to be able to represent Wales, but they only learnt they would be heading to Norway in October.

“The other countries have been training for years for this competition and by March the girls will have only had six months to rehearse,” added Jessica.

“A coach comes down from Western-super-Mare to train the girls every week as they are are now at a level above my ability.

“The girls will have to do a rhythmic twirl set to their own music at the competition.It’s very dance involved so it has to be in-keeping with the music.

“The competition only comes every three years so getting to watch the Welsh flag be brought on by the girls is a massive honour.”

The girls are now taking part in fundraising activities to raise cash to financially support the trip.

The group are aiming to raise £9,500 to be able to send the four girls and one adult per child to Norway.

Jessica said: “We have taken part in bucket collections, bag packing and we are climbing Pen-y-Fan on February 18.”

Steffanie’s mum Kelly Bennett added: “We were so shocked, elated and emotional when Steffanie was selected to represent Wales.

“We could not be more proud of them for putting Wales on the Baton Twirling map for the very first time.”

To donate to the NBTA Cymru’s fundraising efforts visit the NBTA Cymru Facebook page.

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