Women’s Artistic Team final and individual qualification: Five final berths secured after excellent Team 5th
“This is not the last you’ll see of us!”
Those were the words of women’s artistic gymnast Jea Maracha after Team Wales’ brilliant fifth-placed finish in the Women’s Team Final at Birmingham 2022.
Jea along with her teammates Mia Evans, Sofia Micallef, Mali Morgan and Poppy Stickler showed a glimpse of the future in what is their first Commonwealth Games – and then vowed they’ll be back!
Their performance is even more remarkable given it comes in what is still only their first year as senior gymnasts.
The Welsh team could well be the ones to watch in four years’ time at the next Games, but Jea and Poppy will have another chance to impress the raucous Arena Birmingham crowd when they step back out on to the competition floor tomorrow afternoon having qualified for the women’s individual all-around final.
Then, on Tuesday, Jea and Sofia will be back in the balance beam final while Poppy has also successfully qualified for the final of the floor exercise.
“To be at our first Commonwealth Games and to qualify for finals is incredible,” said Jea.
Competing in the last of four subdivisions, the performance of the five – one of the youngest teams at this Games – earned plenty of admirers; Mia, Jea and Poppy only turned 16 earlier this year, while Sofia doesn’t turn 16 until next Friday and Mali until October.
Their overall team total of 147.05 earned them a fifth-placed finish from the nine nations contesting the Team competition.
England’s total of 161.100 saw them take the Team crown ahead of Australia (158.000) and Canada (152.700).
Poppy was 11th in the individual all-around standings, scoring 49.400 across her four pieces, including a score of 12.700 on floor which secured her a place in that final in sixth position.
Jea was just behind her in 13th with an all-around total of 48.200, with her 12.550 score on beam seeing her qualify in sixth.
Sofia will also contest the beam final after scoring 12.450 to qualify in seventh on that piece.
There were also a couple of near misses for Team Wales; Mia Evans finished 17th in the all-around competition with a total of 45.650, but she will miss out on the final due to the two gymnasts per nation rule.
Poppy was eighth on beam having also scored 12.450 but, like Mia, will miss out as Wales already have two in the final. Mali, meanwhile, is third reserve for the vault final. She scored an average of 12.300 points after her two passes of 13.000 and 11.600.