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Watford baton twirler wins historic award
A Watford hairdresser has been awarded the best overall performance at an international baton twirling competition, the first English individual competitor to do so.
Lisa Hodges, 28, took part in the Irish Open Baton Twirling Competition in Dublin on Saturday, coming first in four out of her seven events.
Ms Hodges, who competes at the highest “advanced” level, won the t strut, parade strut, solo dance and two baton contests.
She also took home the trophy for the best overall performance, which is normally awarded to groups, becoming the second-ever individual to win the trophy, and the only competitor from England to do so.
Ms Hodges, who works at Addiction in Watford, said: “I was the second ever individual and the first English girl on the trophy, which is given to best routine of weekend.
“It comes up to my knee so it was a bit of a hassle getting it home.”
Baton twirling is a gymnastic and dance discipline which involves performing an artistic display with a metal rod, set to music.
Ms Hodges said: “There is so much training involved to make sure you eliminate the drops, it has a dance element to it as well as marching.”
Ms Hodges was nine when she started twirling, after a horse riding accident, and now trains twice a week.
She said: "I saw a poster for it on the wall of the stables where I looked after the horses, and fancied giving it a go.
"Although the club I first started with has dissolved, I’m with the same coach who I’ve had since day one, and couldn't have got this far without the help my other two coaches."
As well as the four championship titles Ms Hodges won on Saturday, she also won another at Easter.
She said: “I always aim myself at the next target, all I’ve ever wanted was a championship title which I did in Easter at the International Baton Twirling Association nationals in Bournemouth, and now I’ve got five.
“My next target is to retain my solo dance title and compete again in the nationals next year.”