Francesca Jones (Nene Valley) won her third British Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics title (2006, 2007, 2009) in Stoke on Trent over the weekend 27/28 June.She added to this, the gold medals on rope, ball and ribbon. The 2008 British Champion Francesca Fox (City of Bath) was the runner-up in the all-around and took the title on hoop. First year Senior Jade Faulkner (Esprit Gymnastics) made a triple Bronze début (all-around, rope and hoop).
“I am, indeed, very pleased with my third title, but I believe I could have done better in the Apparatus Finals”, said Francesca Jones. As for the invitation addressed to her to compete at the World Games in Kaoshiung (TPE) in July, she added: ”It was a real shock for me to receive this invitation. I feel really privileged to be able to compete in the company of all the top world stars and I hope I will able to give my best at this most prestigious event”.
The Junior all-around title, along with the gold medals for rope and hoop, went to the very much matured Lynne Hutchison (City of Bath), closely followed by Keziah Gore (City of Canterbury), gold medallist with ball and clubs and silver medallist in the all-around. Laura Halford (Esprit Gymnastics) celebrated her first British Championships at Junior level with four bronze medals (all-around, rope, ball and clubs).
Sarah Binding, the coach of Hutchison said: “ We have changed Lynne’s choreography on several pieces of apparatus earlier this year to try to increase the Difficulty value and to prepare her to move on to the Senior level next year. Her best qualities are that she is a hard worker and loves to compete; once on the floor, she fights!”
Nikara Jenkins (Llanelli Academy) and Helena Stiles (Stockport) won everything that was there to be won in the U12 and U11 age groups, and finished with 4 out of 4 and 3 out of 3 gold medals respectively.
As for the youngest, U9 and U10 years old, it was a “Golden Sweep of Spelthorne” - the only club who managed to win the all-around titles in two age groups (Jade Wright in U9 and Megan Balabey in U10), plus all available gold medals in the Apparatus Finals and four silver medals!
“The only thing I can dream of, is to be able to continue working with these extremely talented children…” stated the Club’s Head coach Villi Antonova.
Jo Coombs, TC Chair: “Very long but very enjoyable weekend! We have moved the calendar of the Championships and the coaches had to prepare their gymnast six months earlier compared to the previous years…and they’ve managed to do it! As for the novelty (introducing the Dance routine to encourage the developmeny of the Artistry, as suggested by the new international Code of Points) - it was a fantastic experience! It was good to have fully independent judges to look at the girls and to advise them on what they need to do further…”
Nadya Alexandrova, National Coach: “Improved level of performance across all age groups, tasteful choice of musical accompaniment, large number of talented Juniors taking part. All in all, very positive impressions!”
Nicky Richards, Competition Organiser: “ We have been extremely pleased to hear the good accounts of the event presentation, because, Rhythmic Gymnastics is, unfortunately, still considered a poor relation. A very good and supportive team for which I am very grateful…”