Espoir British Championships 2009

On show in Gloucester last weekend was the future of British Womens Artistic Gymnastics and it was certainly shining bright!
Britain’s premier event for the 12/13 years age group, the ‘Espoir British Champioships’, provided a showcase for the talented young gymnasts from across Great Britain who had fought hard just to qualify for this event.
The high level of difficulty performed coupled with the exacting execution needed to cope with the Range & Conditioning [a series of exercises designed to test the gymnasts flexibility, strength and control] and the demands of the splits & handstand requirements imposed by our National Technical Director all ensure that Britain will continue to rise in the World rankings towards 2012.
First place went to Liverpool’s Alex Cooper whose strong performances on all apparatus reflect the progress she has made under the guidance of her coach Sarah Atwell. Alex was also top scorer on the Floor where she produced a very well executed routine with high flighted tumbles. In second was Cardiff’s Venus Romaeo who continues to produce good results under the direction of Welsh National Coach Tracey Skirton. Venus was also the top scorer on the Vault flying high on her Piked Handspring Front.
Our very own Bristol Hawks gymnast Amy Sharp took third place with a dream performance that drew admiration from top coaches & judges alike. Amy nailed her highly difficult elements on both Bars and Beam and produced steady routines on the other apparatus to win her third place in the overall standings. She was also top scorer on the Bars including the rarely seen ‘Edjova’ and a sky high ‘Geinger’ release & regrasp. On Beam her free cartwheel-flick-layout back somi continues to impress and third place here put her into medal contention for both Bars & Beam at the apparatus finals to be held in Guildford in July. You can watch Amy’s routines plus an interview with her on BGTV by going to British Gymnastics and following the link.
Bristol Hawks Shannon Lee had an excellent start on Range & Conditioning and continued to shine particularly on her last piece the Floor where she included two double back sommersaults and secured herself a place in the apparatus finals. She is also first reserve for finals on both Vault, nicely landed Handspring Front Salto, and Beam, where she held her nerve to successfully land the double back dismount. Shannon was 8th in the overall standings and but for being a whisker away from handstand on bars would have been 4th.
Other highlights included Sophie Jameson & Lauren Smith with beautiful Floors; Angel Romeo with snazzy choreography on Floor & Tkatchev on Bars; Abbie Caig impressive Beam including a lovely Onodi; Billie MacKenzie strong on Beam & Bars and Ruby Harrold’s full twisting Yurchenko on the Vault.
All in all it was a great day for British Gymnastics and the icing on the cake for the top 5 gymnasts was the chance to compete for Great Britain in a Junior International Event in Germany at the end of June. This will be the first International for Amy Sharp who joins a long tradition of Hawks gymnasts who have achieved the honour of representing their country at international competitions.

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