10 Individual gymnasts and six Groups travelled to Fenton Manor over the weekend of June 3rd and 4th to take part in the 2017 National Development Plan Finals and Round 1 of the 2017 Group Leagues.
In the NDP Finals, the City of Birmingham’s Sophie De-Bear and Worcester’s Georgia Smith both won apparatus medals – Sophie a Silver in the Grade 10 Clubs section and Georgia a Bronze in the Grade 6 Ball section. In doing so, both qualified those routines for the English Championships. By finishing 6th overall in Grade 6, Georgia achieved the highest overall placing among the Region’s gymnasts.
There were also placed finishes for the following:-
• Daisie Burke (City of Birmingham) – joint 4th in Grade 9 Clubs
• Kayleigh Thompson (City of Coventry) – 6th in Grade 9 Ribbon
• Amalie Howard (City of Birmingham) – 6th in Grade 8 Ball and Clubs
• Eva Yordanov (Worcester) – 4th in Grade 5 Free
• Mia Harding (Worcester) – 6th in Grade 5 Ball
The Group Leagues are contested over three rounds, with the second and third rounds taking place in October and November respectively. The City of Birmingham Stars (Francesca Barker, Daisie Burke, Emily Hawkins, Amalie Howard and Alarna Turton) won Round 1 of the Elite Junior section convincingly, scoring a very respectable 12.800 for their Clubs routine, while in the Senior section, the City of Birmingham Thorns (Nicole Allen, Jess Bateman, Sophie De-Bear, Charlotte Farrell and Natasha Hodson) finished third. Both of these results were impressive in their own right, but were made even more so considering that Alarna competed despite having picked up a sickness bug overnight, and that until one week before the competition, Charlotte had been coaching the Thorns, coming out of retirement to allow the Group to compete when they lost a team member due to illness.
In the Elite Espoir section, the Group from Worcester (Mia Harding, Elodie McNelis, Georgia Smith and Eva Yordanov) finished 4th overall and 2nd in the Free section, where they were beaten only by the reigning Elite Espoir British Champions. No mean feat as they are by far the youngest Group in this division!
Next stop for these three Groups is the British Championships at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in July.
In the National Espoir section, the City of Birmingham Gems (Ayumi Dunbar, Hannah Jordan, Tia King, Tasia Murray, Allie Neal and Aavni Patel) finished in 3rd – a huge step forward from the 10th place they achieved in the Seeding Competition back in March, while the City of Birmingham Sparkles (Amelia Baird, Jasmin Benton, Rebecca Dishova and Emma Iankova) finished 6th. In the National Junior section, the City of Birmingham Pearls (Jessica Dodd, Camone-Bleu Gordon, Amelia Jordan, Miya Walker and Olivia Whatmore) also put in a much improved performance to finish 2nd.