From July 25th – August 11th 17 of Britain’s top acrobatic, tumbling, double mini and synchronised trampoline gymnasts will compete against the very best at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia.
Held once every four years, the multi- sport event is known as the ‘Olympics for non-Olympic sports’ and is a fantastic event for all involved, expected to feature over 3000 athletes across 38 sports ranging from squash to orienteering.
With the event about to begin, British Gymnastics caught up with the nine acro gymnasts set to represent GB to see how they are preparing for the event, what they’re looking forward to and their hopes for the competition.
In each of the different categories only one partnership can represent the country which left current British Champions in the mixed pair, Heathrow’s Alice Upcott and Dominic Smith with mixed feelings when they were selected…
Alice – “For selection we were against another mixed pair from our club, Eleanor Franks and Chris Rogers. They are a really strong pair and we’re really good friends with them, so fighting for the one and only place was really hard. It was a difficult time but when we found out we were really happy and grateful for the place. We know it’s going to be tough but even if we mess up it’s great to have experience going out to a competition like this as not many people get the chance, so we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”
Dom – “We really felt bad for our teammates who didn’t make it but were happy with our achievements. It’s probably the furthest we have been for an event and it’s the biggest competition we can compete in so it’s our only chance to give it our all. We always go out to win but we have a difficult field, so our aim is to perform clean routines and then the rest is up to our competitors and the judges.”
In the women’s group category, Elise Matthews, Georgia Lancaster and Millie Spalding from Heathrow are extremely excited for what’s ahead and have worked hard to prove they should attend the event after only first competing together in November 2012. Elise knows their lucky to be at the top of their game at the right time but is confident with the groups training and the strong bond they have developed...
“We were so excited to be selected, it’s quite lucky as so many people miss out as it’s only once every four years. From what I’ve heard from those who went in 2009 it’s a great competition and so I can’t wait for the whole experience. The first time we competed was back in Nov 2012 so we haven’t been together long but we bonded really quickly and it just came together.”
In the women’s pair, Danielle Jones and Shanie- Redd Thorne from King Edmund have been training well and are confident with their routines. Top Danielle can’t wait to experience the mutli-sport event…
“I’m really excited for the Games, I’m not a fan of travelling but once I get there I can’t wait to experience it all. It will be great to see other sports if we get chance. The World Championships last year were in Orlando so we’ve been to competitions as far away as this before but definitely not on this scale.”
Partner Shanie-Redd has high hopes for the pair and puts this down to a hard training regime…
“Our coaches are hoping for us to make the medals and so are we but we will take it one step at a time. We’ve had a Russian coach, Vlad come over and he’s really helped us a lot. Our training has really increased and we have been training twice a day so it’s been going well.”
The last partnership is Deerness’s Tim Pritchard and Alex Houston who are in good shape and feel their training has never been so tough. Alex wants to really to make sure the pair are prepared for what’s ahead…
“The last time we had someone from our club compete was 2005, so we’re really pleased to have been picked and we really want to make it count. I was absolutely over the moon when I heard we had been selected. Training has now stepped up a notch which has quite been hard, we had a men’s four that won Worlds last year and our coaches are training us as they did them. After each session I’ve literally gone through two t shirts of sweat and at least five drinks but hopefully it will be worth it!”
The acro competition at the World Games takes place from the 29th – 31st July.
For more information on the 2013 World Games visit the official website.
For more information on the British acro team, download the 2013 World Games media guide.