Spelthorne Gymnastics Club based in Ashford Middlesex sent 19 gymnasts to Stoke on Trent at the weekend to compete in the National Grades Finals in Acrobatic Gymnastics & Tumbling. All 19 had already qualified for the event by winning their particular grades in the South East Regional Competition back in January this year and faced stiff competition from the winners of every other region in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Altogether more than 600 competitors attended the event to decide the overall National Champion in each grade.
Spelthorne’s Gymnasts had qualified for 11 separate events and came home with 6 x Gold Medals, 2 x Bronze Medals, 2 x 4th and one 10th place.
The competition was spread over two whole days. On Saturday the Spelthorne tumblers of Finlay Gray, Jamie Morris, Oliver Coombs, Vanessa Lima and Oliver Baines were in action.
Spelthorne’s youngest tumbler Finlay aged 9, competing in the Grade 2, 9-10 years category started the day with great composure for such a youngster and after his first two tumbles qualified for the finals in first place, a great position to be in but also great pressure. Next up in the Grade 2, 11-12 years section was Jamie who kept his cool to perform 2 steady tumbles and find himself also heading into the finals in first place.
Our Grade 3 tumbler Oliver, who although only 12 had to compete in the 13+yrs section, was up against boys a couple of years older and a lot more experienced but he rose to the challenge and performed two great first tumbles and found himself also leading the way into the finals. Our only girl tumbler Vanessa Lima was a little nervous but did really well to make the finals in 5th position in the Grade 3, 11-12yrs category. Unfortunately our final tumbler Oliver Baines who has been suffering with a heel injury just missed out on a place in the finals which was a shame as he shows great potential for the future.
The finals took place later in the afternoon and what a wonderful afternoon it was. Vanessa managed to pull up to 4th place just missing out on a medal and Finlay, Jamie and Oliver all gave great performances and held on to their first positions. Three Gold Medals for Spelthorne and a great day's work.
Sunday was the start of the Acrobatics in which the gymnasts compete in pairs, trios and fours. Over the last 25 years Spelthorne has produced many great champions in both Tumbling and Acrobatics and our new set of youngsters seem to be following firmly in their footsteps.
Cyanne Attenborough (14) and Saskia Hobbs (10) were first up in the Women’s Pairs Grade 1. Not only did they look fantastic, they were fantastic, they held their nerves and performed a routine that was probably the best they have ever done and went straight into first place.
Also competing in the Women's Pairs but in the Grade 2 section, Bethany Baston (14) and Sasha Carpenter (9) started the competition with a surprise deduction of 0.5 for too much difference in their height. This put an added pressure on them but like Cyanne and Saskia they performed a great routine showing lovely expression and were really unlucky that the deduction for their height kept them just outside the medals in 4th place.
Our Grade 1 Women's Group of Megan Smith (12), Savhanna Barrett (11) and Niamh Meaney (9) were first up in their section. Their routine was performed with such artistry and precision that not only did it reduce a few people to tears, it won them the Gold Medal in their discipline and it also gave them the highest score of the whole competition, a fantastic achievement for them and the club - fabulous!!
Next up were our Grade 2 Women's Group, Emma Leighton (12), Sophie Lee (11) and Katie Blackford (10). These three girls have come such a long way during the last year, Emma has managed 2 broken arms (sustained from other sports we add!) and Sophie has suffered with a growth injury on her knees so to even make this competition was an achievement. They performed a wonderfully danced routine and really deserved their Bronze Medal.
In the afternoon we had our two Mixed Pairs. First up were our Level 1 Pair of Christopher Tierney (13) and Harriet Cowperthwaite (10). Last year Chris and Hattie actually qualified for this competition but due to a serious illness were not able to participate. How fantastic to see them with a chance to put the last year behind them and have the same opportunity again - and boy did they take that opportunity! They were just beautiful, very composed and showed maturity beyond their years and were clearly the best in this section winning the Gold Medal.
Last up in a fiercely strong field were Rhys Cowler (12) and Jodie Morrish (11). Rhys and Jodie finished the weekend for Spelthorne with another wonderful routine showing that they too can cope well with pressure. They took the overall Bronze Medal to complete a great weekend.
Spelthorne’s gymnasts train between 15 and 20 hours per week and work so hard they really deserve the wonderful results achieved this weekend. We would also like to thank the great team of coaches we have working alongside us, Leighanne Cowler, Ellie Cooper, Tracy Axten and Oliver Parsons.
Well Done to Everyone.
If you would like to participate in Acrobatic Gymnastics, Tumbling or Cheer either for fun or competitively come along for a free tryout, take a look at our website or contact us on 01784-880474.
Bob & Alison Cooper