Nottingham's Becky Downie has become British Senior Artistic Gymnastics Champion for the second year running with her winning score of 56.100 taking her ahead of Becky Wing of Heathrow and Marissa King of Huntingdon.
The battle of the Olympian Becky’s proved to be the highlight of the event with both girls competing in the same group, and the final result only being decided on the last piece of apparatus of the day, the floor. For Marissa King, her 3rd place and first ever all-around medal crowned a welcome return to the gymnastics scene for her after Beijing.
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Earlier in the day, Heathrow’s Nicole Hilbert made it back-to-back British Junior titles in a hotly contested battle with teammate Danusia Francis and Cardiff Centrals Lizzie Beddoe.
Nicole won with an impressive 55.050, excelling on Vault and Bars, Danusia and Lizzie tied for Silver position (53.650) with Danusia leading on Beam.
Liverpool 's Jenni Pinches would almost certainly of been up in the medals had it not been for an unfortunate landing on Vault, she gets a second chance of glory in tomorrow’s finals as she finished 1st on Floor.
Nicole Hibbert “ I’m just really happy. I was very nervous to begin, with but once I made it on to the Floor that gradually went away and I was delighted to win.”
Danusia Francis “ It went ok today, my bars weren’t great but I think I made up for it on the other pieces.”
Lizzie Beddoe “ I’m really really, pleased and wasn’t expecting this result at all and I'm very proud of my performance.”
The Women’s British Championships is one of the highlights of the British Gymnastics calendar. The event includes competitions whereby the Senior and Junior British All-around Champions are proclaimed along with the Apparatus Champions in the Senior, Junior and Espoir categories, on the second day of competition.
The progression through the age groups is one of the most fascinating aspects of the competition as the crowd can see the very best gymnasts across a great age-range compete. Therefore we see 2008 Beijing Olympians; Rebecca Downie who is the defending Champion (Notts), Rebecca Wing (Heathrow), Hannah Whelan (Liverpool) and Marisa King (Huntingdon) alongside 2009 Australian Youth Olympians such as Danusia Francis (Heathrow), Nicole Hibbert (Heathrow) and Jenni Pinches (Liverpool) with the even younger Espoir starlets also thrown into the mix in the apparatus finals.
The 2009 competition comes at a time of transition in the first year of the new Olympic Cycle. Many of the Senior gymnasts from previous years have moved on from the sport and this now gives the opportunity for the new stars to emerge and claim the most prestigious titles. 7-time British Senior Champion Beth Tweddle will not be competing at Guildford this year as she takes part in the World University Games.
With the World Championships in London fast approaching, it is also important for the remaining Senior’s to impress and prove that they are worthy contenders for a place in the British Team. Equally the Junior and Espoir gymnasts will know that each major competition, as we look even further ahead to London 2012 and beyond, has increased significance.
For every gymnast taking part, the British Championships has a special feel and is a very proud moment; the history of this event shows some of the great names that have blessed this competition and every gymnast competing will want to join them and put there names into the British Gymnastics history books.