On the second year of the British Gymnastics Championship Series Welsh gymnasts from across the country came together in Liverpool’s iconic Echo Arena to compete across aerobic, acrobatic and rhythmic gymnastics. Throughout the four-day competition, over 1000 gymnasts gathered to pull out their biggest moves to impress and outdo each other in what promised to be a spectacle of jaw-dropping gymnastics.
The Aerobic British Championships began on Thursday with Welsh gymnasts appearing in a number of categories. George Richardson (Weston Aerobic Gymnastics) entered the auditorium stage as the first male to compete in the NAC Individual Men (12-14Yrs) category, and marked the first of the medal haul for Wales, taking gold with a score of 15.800 before returning in the NAC Pair (12-14Yrs) with his teammate Lucie Antoine to take bronze.
Thursday afternoon welcomed the FIG Individual gymnasts to the floor for qualifications. Olivia Goves (Bulmershe Gym Club) qualified with ease and returned on Friday’s finals to win the gold in the women’s FIG Individual – ND (15-17Yrs) competition, while older sister Sophie Goves (Bulmershe Gym Club) marked the end to her gymnastics career with an impressive routine (19.250) to take bronze in the FIG Individual Senior women’s competition and later joined her Bulmershe teammates to win gold in the FIG Group (18+Yrs) scoring 18.472.
Also competing as part of a group was 11-year-old Molly Brown (Weston Aerobic Gymnastics), who alongside her teammates fought off competition to be crowned the FIG Group (12-14Yrs) British Champions with a score of 18.500.
Rising stars of the discipline, Nancy Law (Weston Aerobic Gymnastics) and Seren Jones (Weston Aerobic Gymnastics) both competed in the FIG Individual ND Women’s competition with Nancy fighting for silver (17.950) and Seren placing sixth (17.150).
Olivia Goves competing in the Aerobic British Championships 2016
As Friday’s aerobic competition came to a close for yet another year, the rhythmic gymnasts looked to qualify in the arena. Last year’s Under 9 Rhythmic British Champion, Elizabeth Popova (Llanelli Gymnastics Club) had her sights on a new title, having moved up to the Under 10 category. Elizabeth qualified top in all three apparatus – free, hoop and rope – to then return on Saturday to be crowned Under 10 British Champion (35.865). Further individual apparatus medals were then awarded, taking home bronze (free) and two gold (rope, hoop) to mark the end of another great competition for Elizabeth.
Fellow Under 10 competitor Isabelle Timmins (Llanelli Gymnastics Club) finished 4th in the all-around competition and qualified to return to compete in individual apparatus finals where she fought to take home both bronze for her rope and hoop routines.
2016 also marked the first British Championships from Wales’ Jasmine Moran (Deeside Gymnastics Club) who, although did not qualify for the finals, showed promising skills to finish 7th in the all-around competition.
Rhythmic gymnast Abigail Hanford (Llanelli Gymnastics Club) flew the flag for Wales in the highly-competitive Junior competition, placing 6th in the all-around and qualifying in the top six for the rope, clubs and ball finals.
The Senior competition welcomed 2015 British Champion Laura Halford (Espirit Rhythmic Gymnastics) to the arena, alongside Gemma Frizelle (Llanelli Gymnastics Club) and Carys Davies (Llanelli Gymnastics Club). After a difficult start with her ball routine, Laura fought back to finish in bronze in the all-around, with 18-year-old Gemma showcasing some of her personal best scores to finish with silver and Carys placing 6th. All three girls returned for apparatus finals where Laura came back from disappointment in the all-around final to grab two British titles in the clubs (16.550) and ribbon (16.683) with rising star Gemma wowing the crowd to take the hoop title (15.900). Laura also added two silver medals to her collection for ball and hoop, while Gemma took bronze for ball and silver in both clubs and ribbon.
Gemma, Laura and Carys received their medals and certificates after competing in the all-aronund competition
The final day of the 2016 Championship Series saw British titles decided in acrobatic. Wales’ acro squad consisted of 17 female gymnasts; 13-19 Women’s Pair Lowri Evans and Olivia Street (West Street Gymnastics Club), 13-19 Women’s Group Paloma Gioia, Francesca Benson and Lillie Fisher (Saltney Gymnastics Club), 12-18 Women’s Group Alysha Dodd, Caitlin Roberts and Elain Hughes (Moelwyn Gymnastics Club), 12-18 Women’s Group Mari Davies, Rhiannon Maine and Hannah Jenkins (West Street Gymnastics Club), 11-16 Women’s Group Amelia Jones, Erin Roberts and Katie Roberts (Moelwyn Gymnastics Club), 11-16 Women’s Group Tamsin Rippin, Allana Sparked and Elin Haf Davies (West Street Gymnastics Club.
Elin, Tamsin and Allana qualified in 8th on Saturday to make the finals, where they finished 7th with a score of 25.550, while Moelwyn’s Amelia, Erin and Katie missed out on qualification to finish 13th in the all-around with their balance and dynamic routines.
Moelwyn’s 12-18 trio of Alysha, Elain and Caitlin finished in 8th place with West Street’s Mari, Hannah and Rhiannon qualifying in 6th place (51.400) and making Sunday’s finals where they gave a terrific combined performance to secure bronze with a score of 25.450.
Women’s Pair Lowri and Olivia took gold with their combined routine as Saltney’s trio – Paloma, Lillie and Francesca – qualified in 4th and went on to Sunday’s finals to scoop bronze in the final (23.970).
Paloma, Lillie and Francesca win bronze in the Acrobatic Finals
Welsh gymnasts came home from the 2016 British Championship series with a total of 15 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze medals – a fantastic achievement. Congratulations to all gymnasts, clubs and coaches who took part. Welsh Gymnastics look forward to seeing you in action again next year!