Report - Vera Atkinson
Francesca Jones from Nene Valley RG Club, won convincingly her second Senior All-around title at the British Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Stoke on Trent, on Saturday 17 November, followed by two gymnasts from Scotland: Magalie Mackay (Beacon), Silver and Ayleen Forfar (West Lothian), Bronze.
Said Vicky Howkins, Jones’ personal coach: “Francesca competes with more confidence now and her technique with the apparatus has obviously improved. Her body skills work with some of the apparatus today was exceptional. In Great Britain we are fairly strict on our judging, therefore I was very happy to see her high winning total score of 59.983.”
The challenge for the Junior title between the defending Champion Francesca Fox (City of Bath) and Rachel Smith (City of Coventry) was much hotter, with Fox snatching the victory with her last performance, (with Ribbon). The Bronze medal went to Jade Faulkner (Esprit).
“It is fantastic!” said Fox’s personal coach Sarah Binding. “Francesca never won the British title when she was younger, coming through the age groups and now winning the Junior title for the second time is extraordinary. We have been training very, very hard, with lots of conditioning and lots of work on getting the difficulties more correct. Next year she will compete as a Senior and we have to work even harder.”
The new British Champions in the other age groups are as follows:
Under 9- Gabriela Caruso (Esprit)
Under 10-Nikara Jenkins (Llanelli, Wales)
Under 11- Laura Halford (Esprit)
Under 12-Amy Stewart (Beacon)
Under 13- Lynne Hutchison (City of Bath)
“In these lower age groups and particularly in U11 and U12 is where our potential lies and where the gymnasts show the biggest promise”, said Joan Black, the Chair of the RG Technical Committee.
In respect of developing talents, “Esprit” were the most successful Club at these Championships (two overall victories U11, Laura Halford and U9 Gabriela Caruso).
Said Debra Hows, the Head Coach of the Club: “ The important thing for me as a coach is to make the gymnasts understand why they have to work hard to achieve success. All the conditioning work, the ballet at the bar, the body preparation work are not the most exiting part of their training and therefore I try to make it as interesting as I can. I am glad to see that it obviously works!”
Nadia Alexandrova, National Coach summarised the impressions of the weekend as follows:
“Generally speaking the level of performance of the British Rhythmic Gymnastics has improved. It became obvious here that this new generation, and especially the U9 to U12 gymnasts are coming up with better basic preparation. As for U13, Juniors and Seniors we have to push further and harder to increase the standard of their performance."