Eight Welsh gymnasts have been named as part of the British women’s artistic squads – and WAG Head National Coach Tracey Skirton-Davies has paid tribute to their coaches in the community for contributing to the success.
Jea Maracha, Mali Morgan and Poppy Stickler have been named in the 2022 Women’s Artistic Senior Squad, with Ruby Evans and Evie Flage-Donovan in the Junior Squad and Ellie Lewis, Jemima Taylor and Ffion Burgum in the Aspire Squad.
All eight Clwb Cymru Caerdydd gymnasts train at Sport Wales National Centre under the guidance of the national coaches.
On congratulating the gymnasts on a fantastic achievement, Tracey paid tribute to the coaches in the community who had also contributed to their success.
The eight gymnasts’ original clubs include Phoenix, Capital, Cardiff Olympic, Cardiff Central Youth Club, City of Newport, Fusion and Pen-y-Bont.
Tracey said: “After two years of no squad selections due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a testament to the girls' resilience and parents' commitment for them to achieve such great results at the British Championships.
“A big thank you to their coaches in the community for supporting the centralised system.
“Without them and the important part they play in the gymnasts' journey, such great results would not have been achieved.”
For Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games hopefuls Jea, Mali and Poppy, It follows their performances at the Artistic British Championships in Liverpool at the end of last month – in what is their debut year as senior gymnasts.
Jea placed ninth in the senior women’s all-around competition, just in front of Clwb Cymru teammates Mali and Poppy, who were 10th and 11th respectively.
Poppy also won a bronze medal in the floor final while Jea and Mali also qualified for the balance beam final.
Last month, Ruby secured back-to-back British junior all-around titles, while also grabbed gold in the uneven bars final as well as a silver medal on vault.
There was also a stunning gold on beam for Evie, who also finished sixth in the all-around competition and has been rewarded with her first British junior squad call-up.
Meanwhile Ellie led a magnificent Clwb Cymru Caerdydd 1-2-3 in the espoir all-around competition last month to land her first British title, with teammates Jemima and Ffion taking silver and bronze respectively.
The women’s artistic selections follow on from the men’s artistic and rhythmic British squad announcements that were made either side of the new year.
Joe Cemlyn-Jones (City of Birmingham) – a firm contender for the Commonwealth Games this summer – is in the men’s TOP Senior Squad while Alex Niscoveanu (South Essex) is in the TOP Junior Squad with YMCA Barry’s Jamie Tran in the Foundation Squad.
The Rhythmic Senior Squad includes Gemma Frizelle and Elizabeth Popova.
Frizelle – who was part of Team Wales at the last Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast four years ago – is gunning for a second straight Games, while first year senior Popova is also in contention to secure a spot for Birmingham this summer.
Imogen Coslett is in the Rhythmic Espoir Squad with Grace Woods in the Rhythmic Foundation Squad.
All four rhythmic gymnasts are attached to Llanelli Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy.