Commonwealth GOLD for Gemma Frizelle in rhythmic hoop final at Birmingham 2022
Gemma Frizelle secured a stunning gold medal in the rhythmic gymnastics hoop final to cap Birmingham 2022 in sensational style.
The 24-year-old, competing at her second Commonwealth Games, was the third gymnast to compete in the hoop final and delivered a beautiful routine to wow the Arena Birmingham crowd and earn a top score of 28.700 from the judges.
Cyprus’ Anna Sokolova scored 28.300 to take silver while Canada’s Carmel Kallemaa (28.200) bagged bronze.
“I didn’t ever expect this. I can’t believe it to be honest,” said Gemma.
“Coming into today I was just aiming to scrape a medal and I thought – and my coaches did too – that if I was going to do that it would be in hoop.
“So once I saw my score I knew it was a good score, I just didn’t know what it would be compared to everyone else’s.
“Judging by my coach Nia’s reaction I knew it was a good routine as she was crying.
“It was really nerve-wracking; I can’t process it still but it’s amazing.
“I didn’t think that anything could top Gold Coast but this definitely has. The home crowd just made such a difference and gave me so much confidence.
“My whole club [Llanelli Rhythmic Academy) is here and they were just amazing; the support has been insane!”
Gemma also made history by becoming the first gymnast to win hoop gold for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
It’s also only the second time a Welsh gymnast has won Commonwealth gold following from Frankie Jones’ ribbon gold at Glasgow 2014.
“I’m really excited to speak to Frankie,” said Gemma.
“I wish she was here but she couldn’t make it; she has been amazing throughout this whole journey, even though she’s not in Wales at the moment, and she is my biggest inspiration – along with Laura [Halford].”
Gemma’s triumph secured a fifth gold medal overall for Team Wales at these Games in Birmingham.
On the song for her performance (Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma) being her mother’s favourite song, Gemma said: “For years and years, since I started competing, every time I’ve got a new routine she’s begged me to have that as my music.
“I’ve refused every time but finally I gave in this year. It was a surprise for her as I didn’t tell her until the first competition she came to watch.”
In the ball final shortly afterwards, Gemma scored 26.500 to finish eighth with Elizabeth Popova finishing seven after a score of 26.600.
Elizabeth then finished with a fantastic performance, scoring 27.700 in the clubs final to finish in fifth place – an incredible achievement for the 15-year-old at her very first Games.
Malaysia’s Joe Ee NG enjoyed a double triumph as she won with the ball and ribbon, while Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva from Australia won with clubs.