This week’s World Cup has been hailed as major success in putting Birmingham back on the gymnastics map as the city begins the countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Japanese gymnast Shogo Nonomura took gold in the men’s competition on Wednesday night ahead of the Russian Nikita Nagornyy. Great Britain’s James Hall claimed the bronze with the 22 year-old Cunningham, competing in his first world cup, finishing just outside the medal positions in fourth.
Last night’s sell out home crowd for the women’s competition were treated to another fine performance by a Birmingham gymnast with 17 year-old Alice Kinsella taking the bronze medal behind American Margzetta Frazier and gold medallist Angelina Melnikova from Russia.
Both events saw gymnasts take part in the all-around competition which for the men included the floor, pommel horse, vault, rings parallel bars and high bar and whilst the women competed on the floor, beam, vault and uneven bars.
It was the first major gymnastics event in Birmingham since the 2010 European Championships and took place in the venue that will host the gymnastics competition at the Commonwealth Games in the city in just over four years’ time. All three British gymnasts who took part in this week’s World Cup will be flying out to compete in this year’s Games in Austrailia, which start on Wednesday.
British Gymnastics, Chief Executive, Jane Allen, said:“Birmingham has a long and proud association with gymnastics so it has been great to bring a big event back to the city and see so many people turn out and enjoy watching some of the best gymnasts in the world.”
“This is a really exciting time for the sport in Birmingham with gymnasts like Dominick and Alice breaking through at the top level and lots of great work happening in schools, clubs and leisure centres across the city. There is real excitement with the Commonwealth Games coming here in 2022 and we’d love to do more of these types of events here.”
Birmingham born gymnast Cunningham commented: “The support from the crowd on Wednesday night was amazing and the whole competition has been an incredible experience for me being a local lad. It would be great to have more big competitions like this in Birmingham. It really helps put the city on the gymnastics and sporting map.”
Cunningham’s former school, Bishop Challoner College were one of a number of local schools that took part in Wednesday night’s opening ceremony. A group of 16 student flag bearers from eight schools led gymnasts into the arena before the start of the competition and also stayed to watch the action with other school children from across the city.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council added: "The Gymnastics World Cup was a fantastic success for the city and yet again underlined Birmingham’s reputation for putting on world class sporting events. It was great to see so many young people from across our city enjoy the two days of action and experience live top-level international sport. It was a real taste for what’s to come in four years' time when we host the Commonwealth Games."
The final event of this year’s World Cup Series takes place in Japan on April 14th.