Excited and ready for action five partnerships from Southampton Elite Start Squad and one from the Elite Group set off, across the flooded plains of Somerset and Gloucester to compete at this friendly but high profile competition. It could be said that this is an unofficial pre British Championships. Attended by many top clubs, the King Edmund Competition was held this year at the new venue of the Club, within the Yate Leisure Centre. Facilities were excellent, busy and well-resourced and with slick, friendly organisation – and coaches appreciated the free tea and coffee !!
First up, on the day, were the Grade 5 partnership of Ella Ridley and Leshanna Churcher – they performed their elegant routine with confidence and held their own in a strong field, to complete the Balance exercise and finish in 4th place. Early in the afternoon they returned to the floor and bettered their score with a clean dynamic routine, including a sky high, tuck back somersault and sneaked into the medals, bringing home a well-deserved bronze.
A little later, mid-morning, the young partnership of Rhiannon Ford-Bailey and Lucy Hodgson (Grade 2) stepped onto the floor, heads high and with engaging beaming smiles they performed their charming routine and gained an awesome score of 27.30 (including a technical score of 8.85). This was enough for a fabulous silver medal, in a very competitive category, in which the vast majority of the competitors were older than this promising pair.
Not to be outdone, younger sister Emma Ford-Bailey together with Ellie Smith took the floor in the Grade 3 Women’s Pairs and performed their energetic and lively routine, dancing with confidence and excellent synchronicity, they showed mastery of all their moves, executing all the balance and dynamic exercises with style and accuracy. They scored 27.01, which was enough for 4th place, only just outside the medals.
Finally, the two Grade 3 trios took the stage. In a highly competitive category, including several partnerships from the top London Gymnastics Clubs, both partnerships more than held their own. First to go, were Hannah Winter, Chantelle Estalles and Elektra Langer – skipping, dancing and smiling their way through the routine, performing all their skills with both flair and accuracy. The score of 26.89, just reflecting a minor error, in one of their individual skills. Following soon after, Jessica barry, Shamiso Bright Garamukanwa and Abigail May performed the complex choreography within their routine with a mature togetherness, and along with a full set of clean and precise skills they scored 27.44 (including a technical score of 8.75) and went into gold medal position. They held onto this place, until the very last trio from Richmond (London) who scored higher and pushed the girls into a very close and well-deserved 2nd place.
So 3 of the five partnerships on the medal rostrum, all routines clean and precise and affirmation that all were strong competitors and serious medal contenders. A successful competition!
The Senior Elite Gymnasts return to Yate for their competition in two weeks time.