The 2014 Commonwealth Games gymnastics competitions have started in style with a spectacular rhythmic gymnastics team competition at the magnificent SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
Rhythmic gymnastics is all about expression, skill and beauty of performance and that was all on show as the packed and enthusiastic crowd were wowed by the magnificent routines.
It was Team Wales who led the Home Nations and took the silver medal, their first ever Commonwealth Games team medal. The strong Welsh team of 2012 Olympian Francesca Jones, British Champion Laura Halford and Nikara Jenkins held their nerve to score a team total of 136.625 points behind gold medal winners and pre-event favourites Canada who scored 141.455.
The Welsh girls all showed confident performances as they leapt, spun and danced across the floor with apparatus and gymnast perfectly synchronized with the music. The team event is all about minimising the errors and all gymnasts contributing good scores under pressure and they did just that, Frankie Jones leading the way with a brilliant clubs routine the highlight of her superb all-around performance, she said after: “I’m so proud of my teammates, this was a whole new massive experience for them and they were incredible. We were so well prepared and so focused as a team and the medal is definitely well deserved. I’ve been on a long journey in gymnastics and to stand here with my Welsh team with the silver medal is one of the proudest moments of them all”
Team England included 2012 Olympian Lynne Hutchison along with well-established stars Mimi Cesar and Stephani Sherlock in their line-up. The girls weren’t without error but had a good level of difficulty in their routines which kept them up in the medal hunt but wasn’t just quite enough scoring 132.100 to place in 4th.
Lynne summed up her experience saying “It’s quite surreal, after competing in Delhi and in London I never thought I’d be back in a major competition. I’ve had to dig deep to get here and am very proud to have made it. We wanted a medal today so are disappointed. The rest of the Games for me is about expressing myself, entertaining the crowd and saying a big thanks to all those people - friends, family, teammates and coaches who have supported me.”
The biggest and loudest cheers of the day came for the Team Scotland girls who were magnificent under intense pressure and expectation. Lauren Brash, Victoria Clow and Rebecca Bee were almost moved to tears by the amazing reception they received from the crowd before and after every routine, the girls scoring 109.635 for 7th.
Lauren Brash said after “The crowd were amazing, it was a truly unforgettable experience to be competing today something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
The competition showcased a great diversity of performances from all the nations with each bringing a different unique style to delight the appreciative crowd. Gymnasts competed four routines using clubs, ribbon, ball and hoop apparatus with the top ten scores from the three strong team counting to the team total. The top eight scores today also counted towards qualification for Friday’s all-around final (where the gymnasts again compete with all four apparatus to crown the best) with Frankie Jones second in the rankings and chasing another historic medal; and for Saturday’s individual apparatus finals which will feature a host of Home Nation gymnasts.
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