EIGHT gymnasts from Arun Gymnastics Club travelled to Sutton to represent the club for the first time in an acrobatic competition at the L&G invitational.
Acrobatic gymnastics was introduced at Arun only last year and this was the first chance for the gymnasts to get an idea of what to expect at competition and see how they measured up against much more established acrobatic squads.
Arun had one pair (Hannah Broad and Gemma Payne) competing in the grade-one women’s pairs and two groups (Chantal Mawbey, Sian Dale and Jordan Kitchen and Ashley Bingham, Lily Smyth and Caitlyn Baird) competing in the grade one women’s groups.
They competed well but their inexperience at this type of competition showed so there were no honours gained for Arun this time but this was valuable experience gained and considering the groups have been formed for only a short period of time, it was an excellent effort all round.
Another element of acrobatic gymnastics is tumbling and four girls from Arun were well-rewarded when they went to Hastings for the south east regional national qualifier, where the winner of each group would go on to represent the south east at the national championships in June.
Arun gymnasts have made good progress with their tumbling since the club took delivery of their tumble
track last year and it showed in the excellent performances of all four girls.
All were competing at national grade one with Olivia Kirkwood competing in the 11 & 12-year-olds and Chantal Mawbey, Lucy Stephenson-Gill and Hannah Broad in the 13-plus age group.
Kirkwood’s series of three passes saw her placed fourth in the first two and third in the last
to give her a very respectable overall fourth place. Stephenson-Gill was placed fifth in her first pass, third next and fifth in her final pass, but her overall total gave her third and a well-deserved bronze.
Mawbey started her first pass in seventh place but followed with fourth in the second and last passes with her total pushing her up to fifth overall.
The main honours were reserved for Broad, who took the competition by storm. In an outstanding display of tumbling all three of her excellent passes placed her first to make her south east regional champion, winning a wonderful gold medal and the prestige of representing the south east at the nationals in Stoke.
Head coach Mandy Hawkins was delighted with all the girls’ performances.