It was a weekend to remember for Welsh tumbler Ieuan Jones as he returned from injury to bag himself a gold medal at the 2022 National Age Group Final staged at Arena Birmingham.
The 16-year-old from Dimax Gymnastics Club, who doesn’t turn 17 until Boxing Day, impressed from the start, with excellent execution and difficulty scores throughout all his preliminary routines to secure a place in the final round in the Men’s 17-21 age category.
Ieuan then took to the track once again, composing himself beautifully to produce a clean 24.000 scoring routine to ensure top spot on the podium and secure himself his first British Age Group title.
“I was really surprised to win, as me and my coach were there to do two good first round runs, as I had upgraded my moves,” he said. “So in the final I tried to stay clean and I came out with the win.
“I’m looking forward to October now and competing against the seniors in the British Championship.”
The build-up certainly hadn’t been straight-forward for Ieuan who, having also secured himself 17-21 age gold at the Spring Cup 1 qualification event in Telford back in April, was prevented from competing in May’s Spring Cup 2 due to a soft tissue injury.
All being well, Ieuan will be back in Birmingham to take his place at the British Championships at the beginning of October, while also hopes to earn himself selection for the Welsh Tumbling team heading to Portugal for the Loule international competition later this year.
Ieuan’s coach, David Thomas, said: “Ieuan has worked extremely hard this year and we are so proud of him in attaining the British National Age Group championship for 17 to 21.
“He gave us a little scare couple months back where he was told he had a suspected fracture in his foot which unfortunately made him miss out on Spring Cup 2.
“However on returning from watching that competition, a letter from his consultant confirmed he had no fracture and was able to put his mind into training ready for the British National Age Group Final.
“He worked extremely hard in his rehab and his preparations on the track which paid dividends in the end in the competition.
“I am extremely proud of him and he is a great ambassador for our club.”
Ieuan was one of a number of gymnastics from Wales who qualified for the National Age Group Final, having been invited following their performances in the two Spring Cup qualification events – with the view to further qualify for British Championships later in the year.
There was Welsh representation from different clubs, competing in different age groups, with different personal goals.
Other standout performances came from CSOG’s Jade Evans who, after breaking her foot in Spring Cup 1, fought back to fitness to qualify to finals in the Women’s 17-21 age group and managed to finish fourth and only just missing out on the medals in her first competition back.
Well done to all involved.
Congratulations also to Welsh lead tumbling coach Rob Owen who along with his gymnast Bailey Forbes (Revolution GC) has taken the top spot at all major events this year. Bailey finished first in both Men’s 15-16 age category qualifying events, National Age Group Finals and also is now European Champion in the junior category.