With the London 2012 Games on the horizon and a sell out audience for Wembley, it was great news for the British Rhythmic gymnasts when the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced that GBR will be able to take up the Host nation qualification place in individual competition.
With this in mind, this year’s British Rhythmic Gymnastics at Fenton Manor, Stoke on Trent, 24-26 June 2011 will take a new level of significance.
The All-Around competition for all age groups will take place over two days. Gymnasts in the Under 11 and Under 12 sections will perform their Free and Rope routines on Friday, 24 June, finishing their competition with Hoop and Ball on Saturday, 25 June, while Juniors and Seniors will work with Hoop and Ball on Friday and then Clubs and Ribbon on Saturday.
The top six ranked gymnasts with each piece of apparatus in the All-Around competition in Under 12, Junior and Senior sections will then compete for the Apparatus titles on Sunday along with the top eight Under 11s.
Gymnasts to watch:
Current British Champion Francesca Jones (City of Birmingham) is aiming for her fifth title, having triumphed in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Frankie recently returned from the European Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Joining her is the City of Canterbury’s Keziah Gore, British Junior Champion in 2008, who also participated in Minsk, and two of last year’s top-ranking juniors – Mimi-Isabelle Cesar (City of Birmingham) and Rachel Maguire (Llanelli Academy).
This section promises to be an intriguing battle, with only Catherine McNicol (City of Birmingham) of last year’s top six competing this time round; Laura Halford (U12 British Champion in 2008) and Stephani Sherlock (both from Esprit Gymnastics), who have been selected for international duty this season; the 2009 and 2010, U12 Champions Nikara Jenkins (Llanelli Academy) and Helena Stiles (Stockport). Special mention in this section must go to West Lothian’s Dionne Lees who has qualified to compete at this level for the first time.
The competition sees all but one of last year’s top six under 11s return, including 2010 Champion Megan Balabey (HSG Swallows). There are also first time appearances at this level for Alexandra Ballentine (unaffiliated), Annabel Brumfield (Beacon), Sophie Coombes (St Helens), Chanelle Ellis (South Essex) and Fiona Hercus (Pentland).
This is the largest section of the Championships, where sixteen gymnasts will contest the five titles at stake. All of last year’s top six are back, including 2010 Under 10 Champion Leah Munday (HSG Swallows), silver medallist Jade Wright (also HSG Swallows) and Tiola Gleeson (City of Bath). Two gymnasts have qualified at this level for the first time – Rachel Reid (Beacon).
Falcon Spartak’s Rowena Francis is going for her fourth consecutive Class 1 Senior title, while Holly Hammill from Phoenix RGC who won the Class 2 Junior title in both 2009 and 2010 steps up to the senior ranks for the first time. Three further gymnasts are making their debuts at this level – Lesley Farmer (Phoenix RGC), Shamika Llewelyn (Dorchester YMCA) and Heather Sturdy (City of Glasgow).
Fenton Manor Leisure Complex; City Road, Fenton, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 2RR
Competition Time Table:
Friday, 24 June 2011: 15:00-20:10 (All-around competition)
Saturday 25th June (All-around competition)
Competition start time (Under 11 &12's) - 10:00am
Presentations - 13:00pm
Competition start time (Junior and Seniors) - 13:15pm
Presentations - 17:00
Sunday 26th June: (Apparatus Finals)
Competition start time - 10:00am
Presentations - 15:15pm
Available from Ticketweb (http://www.british-gymnastics.org/) or at the door.
photos Janos Schmidt