British Championships 2013With only a week before the start of the 2013 British Championships the excitement is starting to grow, and there is a lot to be excited about this year. Hannah Whelan and Rebecca Tunney are our returning 2012 Olympians, we have a great bunch of new seniors to keep an eye out for and Lisa Mason is continuing her comeback after 12 years away from the sport. It's certainly going to be a great competition. With all that in mind here are the top 10 routines that I am most looking forward to seeing:
Hannah Whelan - floor
Having grown to love Hannah's last floor routine and seen her competing it with so much success (European Bronze medallist on floor in 2012) I can't wait to see her new routine for 2013. She unveiled it at the English Championships recently, matching new choreography and music with new tumbles. It will be exciting to see how much she can build on the success of her previous floor routine.
Ruby Harrold - bars
Ruby is a brilliant bars worker and showed off a stunning new routine at the English Championships which had me gasping throughout. Unfortunately, some errors meant that Ruby was kept off the podium for this apparatus but I am sure she will be challenging for one of the top spots next weekend.
Gabby Jupp - beam
Gabby took the gymnastics world pretty much by storm with her fantastic performance at the American Cup earlier this month. Having watched Gabby last year (Junior British Champion, European Junior Bronze medallist) it was no surprise to me how well she did, but I was delighted that she kept her nerve in such a major event and showed the world exactly what she is capable of. All her routines are worthy of a mention, but her poise and style on beam definitely makes this apparatus one to watch.
Lisa Mason - vault
No other gymnast has attempted to come back to the sport, at the age of thirty, after a 12 year retirement. Yet Lisa has not only done this but done it with style. If anyone ever doubted that she could pull it off she proved them wrong a couple of weeks ago by becoming the 2013 English Vault Champion - quite a feat for her first competition in almost 13 years! Lisa has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with, competing on vault and beam for the time being and planning on adding the other apparatus back in soon. Her vaulting is something I am definitely looking forward to seeing.
Becky Downie - bars
Becky has had a turbulent few years, plagued by an ACL injury, but has recently shown herself to be back on form, taking the title of English Beam Champion 2013 with an amazing new bars routine that is absolutely stunning. For anyone who may have thought that Britain's winning ways on bars were over with Beth not competing, Becky is one of the many talented bars workers who is proving that that is definitely not the case. Next weekend's bars final should be a very exciting one!
Rebecca Tunney - vault
Rebecca had an amazing year in 2012 as a first year senior, taking the title of British Champion and competing at the Olympic Games. She seemed to go from strength to strength throughout the year and although I cannot wait to see Rebecca on all four apparatus, her DTY was looking so strong and clean by last summer I cannot wait to see how she has built on that fantastic vaulting.
Angel Romaeo - floor
Although she is a first year senior, Angel is a gymnast who is already a favourite with many gymnastics fans around the world and this is mainly due to her charismatic floor routines. She is a natural performer on the floor and her personality shines through. She is one gymnast who certainly should have nothing to worry about when it comes to the more stringent artistry rules in the new Code of Points! Although she is good on the other apparatus, floor is where she excels and I simply cannot wait to see her in action in the senior competition.
Niamh Rippin - vault
Niamh will be defending two titles at the British Championships this year, on floor and vault. A strong tumbler and an excellent vaulter, Niamh will be hoping to stave off other challenges for the titles. She has a strong DTY and I am really looking forward to seeing her powerful vaulting.
Charlie Fellows - floor
A first year senior at the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club, Charlie will be hoping to follow in the very successful footsteps of her club teammates, four of whom competed at last year's Olympic Games. Floor is a very strong piece for Charlie, indeed she qualified to the floor final at the 2012 European Championships. She works cleanly on floor and has good musicality as well as good tumbling. With the pedigree of Liverpool gymnasts I think she will definitely be one to keep an eye on.
Raer Theaker - floor
Raer is yet another first year senior who is out to impress. Raer has enjoyed a great deal of success as a junior gymnast and will be hoping to continue that as she turns senior. Floor is a piece that suits Raer well. She moves expressively to the music and has some fantastic tumbling. It will be great to see her compete in senior competition.
The British Championships take place on 22nd-24th March. More details and information about the event can be found on the British Gymnastics website http://www.british-gymnastics.org/site/.