A teenage Irish dancer has described how she burst into tears after being crowned world champion.
Shanelle Keogh, of Three Bridges, earned the title in the under-14 age group at the World Championship of Irish Dance, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Shanelle, 14, who trains with the Ace Academy of Irish Dance, in Broadfield, said: “I can remember jumping, thinking, ‘no I don’t believe it’. Then I started crying. Then the realisation that I was world champion sunk in in seconds. That’s when the tears started flowing!”
The Ace Academy saw another student – 11-year-old Amelia Knight – earn the under-12 title.
Shanelle’s parents, Mandy and Tony, accompanied her to Germany and were “like a pair of lunatics unleashed” when their daughter won the title.
Mandy said: “Shanelle is an extremely loving girl who puts others before herself but this was her time and she had definitely deserved to be put first.
“She danced her socks off and trained at home and at our local gym every day – sometimes six hours a day.”
Shanelle was bitten by the dancing bug when she was four years old, after seeing Irish dancing on the television.
After six months of being nagged by her daughter, Mandy said she finally took her to her first class when she was four-and-a-half. Shanelle took to it like a natural and won her first championship when she was just six years old.
Since then, she has gone on to win a number of major titles, including under-12 and under-13 European Champion.
Despite have a world title under her belt, Shanelle will not be resting her legs.
She said: “It’s like a dream come true. It seems that I have been chasing this title for years, coming so close each time. This means everything to me and now I know all my hard work has paid off.
“My focus now is the All Ireland Championships at the end of May so training has already restarted.”
The Ace Academy holds classes in Broadfield Community Centre, Broadfield Barton, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The school is the longest established of its kind in West Sussex.