A SCHOOLGIRL from Dursley has beaten hundreds of hopefuls to become a world-beating cheerleading champion.

Scarlett Wong, 12, a pupil at Rednock School in Dursley, came in at an amazing ninth place in the World Summit Cheerleading Championships where she represented the British team.

The championships - held in Florida, USA, and televised on the ESPN channel - saw Scarlett and her British team, Crimson Heat, beat hundreds of UK teams to be the first ever British team to qualify for the semi-finals, which were held in the ESPN Sports Centre in Orlando.

Crimson Heat later went on to beat 34 other teams from across the world to then qualify for the finals, where they achieved a perfect score and were subsequently ranked ninth in the world.

It comes at a time when cheerleading in the UK is growing in popularity.

Thirty-seven per cent of schools in 2010 alone were offering cheerleading as a sport, with that figure thought to be rising, and last year, Team England’s elite squad won the World Cheerleading Championships.

For Scarlett, her success has been the culmination of hard work and determination.

A member of the local Gloucestershire cheer and dance academy team for seven years before moving to Crimson Heat in Reading last year, Scarlett trains between two or three times a week in Reading, as well attending tumbling training twice a week, spending 20 hours a week training.

Scarlett said: "I was so proud to be at the summit and competing for our country, and would love to thank my mum for her hours and hours of driving me around the country."

Scarlett’s mum, Wendy Holt, said: “I’m so glad Scarlett’s got her dream.”

Scarlett now plans to continue her cheerleading training, with her sights set on the next World Championships qualifiers.