WEST SUSSEX gymnasts shone at the British TeamGym finals in Stoke.
Representing Portsmouth School of Gymnastics (PSG), teams of up to 12 gymnasts have to perform group routines on three pieces of apparatus - floor, tumble and trampette.
In the primary age group (12 years old) Ellie Pacey from Felpham and Mia Brown from Chichester went into the competition ranked 13th of the teams who had qualified from the southern and northern qualifying competitions.
In a remarkable turnabout of form, the young team produced an exceptional display of precision and dynamism to improve on their qualifying score by a full five marks.
They battled their way up to fourth overall - a mere 0.375 marks away from taking bronze. With many of the girls in the team eligible for next year, the prospects look good for a successful 2014 campaign.
Next up came the highly-competitive junior girls’ teams (12-17 years). This is the age group where gymnasts can achieve international selection and this year’s competition not only sets a marker for the European Championships in Iceland next year but is also an opportunity to impress the national selectors.
Anna Richardson, Holly Waters and sisters Amy and Sophie Brown - all from Chichester - had major roles to play in the PSG team.
The difficulty of their tumble and trampette routines had been significantly raised in preparation for the competition. The team opened with an uncharacteristic display on the trampette that saw them placed fifth after the first rotation.
A near-faultless floor routine, which set a new British record for junior girls’ floor scores (18.883), saw them jump up to second. The tumbling display by the girls cemented a highly-deserved British silver medal.
With at least another year left in this age group and more complex moves still to be added to their performances, the team should go from strength to strength and will be looking for the coveted European Championship place at next year’s event.
Chichester links continued in the senior age group with former Chichester High school teacher Lauren Ayling and former high school pupil Fenella Mousley and Chichester University student Rochelle Oxley representing the PSG senior girls’ team.
The reigning British senior champions had just returned from winning the European Club Cup in Austria.
With many of the team carrying injuries, positions in the tumble and trampette runs had to be swapped around at the last minute.
An exceptional trampette routine was quickly followed up by a brilliant floor routine that broke the 20 mark for the first time in British TeamGym history (20.966).
A strong tumbling display saw the ladies retain the British TeamGym title a full seven marks clear of their nearest opposition.
Holly, Anna, Amy and Sophie will turn their attention to fundraising over the coming weeks as they have all been selected by PSG, along with the senior girls, to attend the UEG TeamGym training camp in Italy in July.