Celebrating the work of all our Technical Panels
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
It has been a hugely successful period for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.
Eight Welsh gymnasts – three seniors, two juniors and three aspire girls, were named as part of the British women’s artistic squads in 2022.
Meanwhile there were further honours for Ruby Evans and Evie Flage-Donovan in their last year as juniors, with both selected to represent Team GB at the summer European Youth Olympic Festival in Slovakia, along with coach Tracey Skirton, and both Ruby and Evie were also named in the British women’s junior team for the European Championships in Munich.
Ruby secured a stunning silver medal on vault at EYOF, with the team taking sixth, while both helped GBR’s junior women’s team finish fourth in Munich. Both girls also made individual apparatus finals, with Ruby fourth on the floor and Evie fifth on uneven bars.
Poppy-Grace Stickler was selected reserve for the 2022 World Championships and was awarded a silver team medal, while Ruby and Evie then competing in their last junior competition at Top Gym in Belgium in November 2022 where they won team gold.
There was also individual silver overall for Ruby who also won on vault and took silver on floor.
At the 2022 Northern Europeans, Wales won team gold in the women’s event while there was also gold for Ruby on vault and Jea Maracha on uneven bars.
2023 began in early February with a successful Cottbus World Cup for Ruby and team mate Poppy-Grace Stickler representing Great Britain, with great performances as both made finals while Ruby got her senior career off to a sensational start with two medals; Silver Vault and Bronze Floor.
Then on to a successful British championships at the end of March.
Lexi Holmes won all-around aspire bronze with Ffion Burgum and Ellie Lewis second and third overall in the junior competition. Ffion and Ellie were also crowned British junior floor and uneven bars champion respectively.
There were five Welsh gymnasts making up the top 10 of the British senior all-around competition with Ruby taking the vault title and Poppy securing silver on the floor to make her a back-to-back British medallist on that piece.
Junior gymnast Jemima Taylor was the top qualifier on beam and floor at the British but missed the finals as she was travelling with the British team to the Junior World Championships in Turkey – where she impressed by winning the execution award and qualifying for the all-around and floor finals.
The year also sees our Welsh squads thriving, with large numbers for trials while 10 girls make GB squad selection.
Ruby was named as a GB women’s team reserve for the European Championships while there have been further GB World Cup selections for Poppy and Evie and GB senior international selection too for Sofia Micallef, Mali Morgan and Emily Roper.
Jemima and Ellie had the honour of going to EYOF 2023 with Team GB and brought home a team bronze.
There has also been medal success at the National/Compulsory Grades.
Welsh gymnasts took the top three individual placings and team gold at National Grade 4, individual third overall and team gold at National Grade 2 and individual third overall at Compulsory 3.
These results led to Wales winning the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year for the top scoring region in GB.
Wales has also gained six national judges this year.
Notable retirements over this period includes 2022 Commonwealth Games gymnast Jea Maracha.
The Women’s Technical Panel would like to thank our National Coaches, judges, coaches, and volunteers for their continuous support, providing a strong domestic programme of competitions and events.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
It’s been another busy year for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Wales.
In the summer of 2022, our five-man team, comprising Joe-Cemlyn Jones, Brinn Bevan, Josh Cook, Jacob Edwards, and Emil Barber, took to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The team displayed some incredible performances, exhibiting world-class gymnastics across various apparatus. They also earned places in several apparatus finals, bringing them within touching distance of medals.
The Games served as testament to the remarkable progress made by MAG in Wales in recent years. Notably, there have been significant improvements in D-scores, a greater depth of talent across the apparatus, and a visible team spirit that undoubtedly serves as an inspiration to the next generation of MAG gymnasts in Wales.
The initial 2026 Commonwealth Long List further highlights the depth of talent within Wales as we prepare for the next Games. This list comprises a mix of seasoned senior gymnasts, as well as promising younger seniors and juniors.
Another noteworthy highlight from 2022 was the participation of a young team of emerging junior and senior gymnasts in the 2022 Northern Europeans. For some of these gymnasts, it was their first exposure to international competition – providing an invaluable experience. The team delivered some outstanding performances, earning spots in several apparatus finals, including a bronze medal on the pommel horse, courtesy of Iwan Scrivens
Within the younger age groups, Wales boasts four gymnasts who have earned spots in various British Squads:
- Jamie Tran (BG Foundation Squad)
- Ewan Leask (BG Foundation Squad)
- Sammy Cotter (BG Development Squad)
- Alex Niscoveanu (BG TOP Junior Squad)
In 2023, Alex Niscoveanu had an outstanding year, achieving some fantastic milestones in his gymnastics career. He was crowned British champion in the U18s category, as well as being selected to represent Great Britain in the prestigious summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).
Furthermore, Alex played a pivotal role in securing a team Gold medal for his compatriots, along with a bronze medal in the all-around competition – marking an unprecedented achievement for a Welsh MAG gymnast and an historic moment for Great Britain.
Sammy Cotter was also selected to represent Great Britain in the prestigious Cottbus junior international competition. Sammy’s contributions not only led his team to secure a gold medal in the team event, but also earned him a well-deserved bronze medal on the rings.
Coach education has also been a focus within the programme. Nine Welsh National Squad junior and senior gymnasts completed their UKCC Level 1 course in August. The completion of this qualification will significantly improve the MAG Workforce in Wales, with a view for the newly qualified coaches to support their club programmes and younger age groups within the Welsh Foundation Squad.
The Men’s Artistic Gymnastics program in Wales has consistently embraced a collaborative approach to its development, fostering strong partnerships between clubs, personal coaches and the national coaching team. I am enthusiastic about the continuation of this collaborative and partnership-driven approach as we steer Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Wales towards a bright future.
The Rhythmic Technical Panel (RTP) would like to start by thanking Nia Evans (Head National Coach), Laura Halford (National Coach) and all the staff at Welsh Gymnastics.
Since our last report in May 2022, our rhythmic gymnasts have had some great results – with the pinnacle being Gemma Frizelle winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Gemma battled injuries in the run up to the Games and the focus was on an apparatus medal instead of all-around. She did just that also made two other finals.
We have started rhythmic sessions at Llandarcy Academy of Sport which have been in progress since the beginning of 2023.
Other work areas have included organising a first rhythmic general class competition to take place in late October 2023, as well as the inaugural Cymru Cup taking place in early December at Llandarcy.
We hope to make this an international annual event to be held at Sport Wales for 2024.
Alongside Gemma’s performances, other standout performances include Elizabeth Popova, who was the youngest in the competition at the Commonwealth Games and she performed with maturity, with some fantastic routines to make three finals and a highest finish of fifth with clubs.
Lauryn Carpenter was the most inexperienced member of our Commonwealth team but performed beautifully, while a special mention also for Emily Cullen who trained all the way up to the Games, pushing for a place in the team.
There has once again been Great Britain representation for Elizabeth (Sofia) and Gemma (Baku) for World Cups, as well as Welsh international representation.
Five gymnasts competed at the Miss Valentine competition, with three gymnasts qualifying for finals and a bronze medal while in the Grand Prix event Elizabeth produced some great performances, only narrowly missing out on finals.
At the 2023 British Championships, Welsh rhythmic gymnasts won two gold, four silver and nine bronze medals.
Notable retirements over this period include 2022 Commonwealth Games gymnast Lauryn Carpenter and longlist gymnast Emily Cullen.
The RTP would also like to wish all our gymnasts from all disciplines the very best of luck for all future events.
The past year has seen much exciting activity and development within the trampoline community.
The chances for participation within trampoline continue to grow, with different clubs offering holiday activity and recreational provision.
This year saw the return of face-to-face coaching courses for those looking to gain a UKCC L1 qualification in coaching trampoline with seven coaches from Wales taking part in these courses this year.
Hopefully this next generation of coaches will be able to spread the love of the sport within and beyond their clubs to the increasing number of people wishing to engage in the sport.
With work being done to grow and train the coach education workforce, it is hoped more opportunities can be provided to train, educate, and upskill new and current coaches.
From a competition perspective, there has been much opportunity and success for gymnasts to compete at a range of levels. In November 2022, four gymnasts entered and competed at the David Ward Hunt Cup, which is a FIG sanctioned event that saw our gymnasts jump with those from countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, and the Netherlands amongst others.
The Welsh Open in December 2022 had 12 different clubs, including three from England, come together for a fantastic event to showcase a wide range of abilities across Wales.
Moving into 2023, we had the Regional Challenge Cup series which provided three different competition opportunities for those in Wales at the recreational and development level.
This culminated in over 50 gymnasts attending the Inter-regional final event held in Birmingham during the summer to compete in TRA and DMT across all levels including 11 disability gymnasts as well.
Other competitions in the past year include the Age Group Finals and BSGA Schools competitions both seeing gymnasts from Wales enter and compete with other gymnasts both within and outside of Wales.
Opportunities for gymnasts to develop and aspire to higher levels began again this year with work being put in place for an eventual return of squad activity. Gymnasts and their coaches had the opportunity in September to go down to Lilleshall National Centre to join the England squad for a training camp with another chance again in March of 2024.
We look forward to the continuing development of the discipline for the remainder of 2023 and going into 2024 with more opportunities for recreational participation, performance development, and coach education. Particularly exciting for the development of the DMT discipline as an increasing number of clubs have coaches become qualified to deliver the sport, and clubs have gained funding to purchase equipment to facilitate training and grow participation.
This has been a period of growth for the discipline with the introduction of a new Acro squad and investment from Welsh Gymnastics into a head coach.
Ian Said joined the team and, after lots of collaboration and development over the best part of a year, Ian was lucky enough to be offered the head coach position for the discipline at British Gymnastics.
It gave us the opportunity to revest into the coaching position and we were lucky enough to welcome Toshko Pavlov into the role. Toshko is currently in the process of re-developing the Acro squad, offering opportunities across all levels of the competition pathway.
Our Welsh Acro gymnasts had a successful year at Regional level, with a full team heading off to represent Wales at the British Regional Finals.
All gymnasts performed beautifully, with a standout performance from West Street’s IDP 1, while women’s pair Daisy Calo and Emily Hall finished in the silver medal position and Point Acrobatics Gymnastics’ Kieran Guy and Murain Roberts also shone in third place and were IDP 1 mixed pairs bronze medal winners.
We look forward to watching the squad grow into 2024 and beyond.
Our aerobic community came together at ICC Wales in in the Celtic Manor last November to showcase and compete at the annual Welsh Aerobic Open Championships.
With over 300 performances over the whole weekend, including from some top British international stars, the opportunities for our younger members of the aerobic community and the audience to watch some spectacular performances were plentiful.
Meanwhile the Welsh girls showed up and performed brilliantly at British Championships.
The Phoenix Dance & Gymnastics quintet of Alessia Polledri, Ella Pritchard, Belle Davies, Kate Jones-Darch and Lowan Davies bagging a bronze medal in the FIG age group (group) category (12-14 ages) – all performing beautifully in an exceptionally hard category to secure the club their first-ever British Championship medal.
After the competition, the gymnasts said: “It was amazing to be standing the podium.
“We were proud of ourselves; we have worked hard knowing that we are new to the category and there are gymnasts that we look up to in the category from other clubs, so we were excited and proud to bring the medal home to Wales and Phoenix.”
Head coach Laura Morgan added: “I am so proud of the girls. Their resilience over the last few years has been incredible and shows their love and dedication to their sport.”
It was another great British Championships for Welsh aerobic gymnast Emily James – who also competes for Sparkles, as well as being an assistant coach at Phoenix DGC. She secured herself a brilliant British bronze medal in the FIG senior individual women’s category following a strong routine.
In April, gymnasts from Phoenix travelled out to the Czech Aerobic Open, making history by becoming the first British aerobic gymnasts to win a medal in the newly created Aerodance competition. The girls all performed brilliantly to come away with silver in a highly competitive field.
Congratulations also to Emily who, while still and training and competing at the very highest level in her discipline, became a qualified Gymnastics Activity Instructor, while fellow elite aerobic gymnast Mia Bernardo retired from the sport before taking on a coaching role at her club.
Mia quickly qualified at Level 1 as an aerobic coach and then went on to qualify as a Gymnastics Activity Instructor. Both are new coaching the new generation of aerobic gymnastics at our only Aerobic club in Wales – Phoenix Dance and Gymnastics in Aberdare.
This year saw a return to face-to-face competitions for our schools with young people with complexities and disabilities.
As in previous years, we saw hundreds of young people enter our Rotary Disability Welsh Schools competition.
And, in order to give more opportunity to schools, we offered a hybrid approach with online as well as face-to-face competitions taking place. As always, the hosting Welsh clubs were fantastic and often offering the use of their venue for FREE.
The same hybrid approach will be adopted in 2024, in an attempt to give as many schools and gymnasts as possible the opportunity to enjoy our fantastic sport.
Every year, Welsh Gymnastics hosts an activity day for the fabulous children of 21 Plus – a support group based primarily in South East Wales for family members, carers, friends and professionals, supporting children and young people with Down’s syndrome.
The young people love attending our national centre and using the same gym as the very best women’s artistic gymnasts in Wales.
Such is the popularity of these sessions, this year the society asked for two days of gymnastics.
The young attendees were treated to use of the whole gymnastics centre as well as a great display from our older gymnasts, who were also on hand throughout the day to help the young people experience the sport they all love.
The introduction of two annual competitions means the discipline of TeamGym has been introduced to additional clubs with many more gymnasts competing than ever before.
Special thanks to Trish Rawlings, who has taken a leading role in developing these competition as well as judges within our region.
Three Welsh gymnasts helped steer Great Britain’s junior men to a brilliant fourth spot at the 2022 TeamGym European Championships in Luxembourg.
Toby Stewart, Noah Higgs and Sam Kirby were part of a 10-strong men’s junior team who finished just outside the medals places among what was a strong field.
In doing so, Toby, Noah and Sam also made history by become the first gymnasts, male or female, from Wales to compete for Great Britain in TeamGym.
Tumbling has been on the up in Wales over the last few years with more clubs competing now than ever before.
This year has seen an increase in attendance to all domestic competitions, a growth in squad members and opportunities for our youngest and developmental gymnasts with another year of success at South Area squad.
Our Home Nations performance gymnasts flew out to Portugal for their first international in many years. The squad competed at the 15th Loulé International Cup, following a newly trialled selection process and selection events, with opportunities for all to compete to gain a place in the team.
The squad were led by head coach Rob Owen, with assistant coach Shelley Pace and development coach Jamie Evans, along with head of delegation Maria Gaynor, went out with a goal of making a two finals.
And they exceeded expectations, coming away with three three medals and having made seven finals. Ieuan Jones bagged bronze in the senior men category, while in the 13/14yrs boys event Dylan Smallcombe and Elwyn Drury secured silver and bronze respectively.
A hugely successful competition with room for growth within the discipline.
Meanwhile the newly restructured Inter Regional Challenge Cup for trampoline disciplines showcased new routines for our tumblers to compete.
As always Wales had a strong tumbling team, with some standout performances from Lauren Moyle (bronze), Rose Burson (bronze) and Yaseem Rehman (silver).
Another great year from our tumblers.
Notable retirements during this period include multi major championship medallist Megan Surman.