Tuesday, 1 April 2014

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

British Championships 2014 All Around Final

With flashing lights, smoke machines and a stage for the gymnasts to enter the arena on to, the 2014 British Championships had drama written all over it. And the build up was not for nothing as there certainly was plenty of drama.

Rebecca Tunney
After a tough year battling injury in 2013 and unable to defend her 2012 British title, Rebecca certainly proved that she was back in business. Starting with a nice DTY with just a step on landing, she followed with the highest scoring bars routine of the day. Always a consistent bars worker, Rebecca has never had the difficulty to compete with the likes of Beth Tweddle, Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold. This weekend however, proved the exception. With a D score of 6.6, she performed a clean and fluent routine that left the crowd gasping. An amazing routine that I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of. Beam proved more problematic with a touch after her side somersault, but otherwise a steady routine. Floor was last and Rebecca was the last gymnast to compete. She performed well but with floor scores being low all weekend there was a wait for the score, which came up high enough for her to take the title of British Champion 2014. It was great to see her back to her winning ways.

Becky Downie
Becky started the competition with what we think of as her best piece - bars. Unfortunately though, bars proved to be something of a problem. After a great start she faltered above the bar and although she managed to save a fall, she lost marks for both execution and difficulty. But, this being Becky, she still scored 14.150 (the second highest bars score of the day). This was followed by an absolutely solid beam routine, packed with difficulty, until a very uncharacteristic fall on her dismount. But despite these shocks, it was the next rotation that would prove to be the biggest surprise of all, with Becky competing floor. After years of not competing all around, I was surprised and delighted to see that she would be doing all four pieces and challenging for the All Around title. And you certainly could not tell that this was her first performance of a floor routine for years, it was wonderful to watch. All that was left was vault and she performed her usual powerful vault, scoring a massive 15.000. Overall, her first all around competition in years scored her an impressive 56.350 and earned her the Silver medal.

Claudia Fragapane
A second year senior, Claudia is still new to competing at the senior level due to injury in 2013. Relatively unknown to many, she impressed most this weekend with her skills and her power. Her vaults were strong and powerful and saw her qualify in first place for the vault final. Her bars routine was steady and well performed and she finished with a fabulous double straight dismount. Her beam was strong and dynamic with some interesting and difficult skills. But it was floor where Claudia really made her mark. Posting the highest floor score of the day, she opened her routine with a fantastic full twisting double straight. It was amazing to watch and a great routine. A great competition and the Bronze medal was her reward. She is definitely one to watch out for in the future.

Raer Theaker
Raer had a steady competition, performing well on all four pieces. She managed to keep her nerve in a competition where many others were losing theirs. Her clean, solid performances saw her qualify for two finals and finish the day in a well deserved 4th place overall.

Georgina Hockenhull
Georgina really impressed me this weekend with some beautifully performed routines. She looked very elegant in all of her performances. I really enjoyed watching her and was very pleased that her efforts were rewarded with a strong 5th place finish.

Kelly Simm
After a great year, many expected Kelly to be challenging for the medals, but unfortunately it was not to be. Solid on beam and vault, she had troubles on bars which meant she finished the day in 6th place. Nevertheless I have no doubt we will be seeing much more of Kelly in the future.

Ruby Harrold
With Ruby having gone from strength to strength this last year, many were expecting Ruby to take the title but unfortunately it simply wasn't her day. Although she went through three of her routines cleanly, it was her trademark piece, bars, which gave her problems. With three falls and a score of 11.400 she finished the day down in 9th place. Not the day that she would have hoped for but still much more to come from her no doubt and I cannot wait to see it.

Lisa Mason
Lisa continued to surprise and impress this weekend, with some great routines and some great results. Competing on a sprained ankle which she had sustained during warm ups, Lisa nevertheless gave it her all and finished a creditable 11th place. She also qualified to three apparatus finals which she unfortunately had to withdraw from due to her injury. However, it was still a very good competition weekend for Lisa.

Hannah Whelan
Expected by many to compete all around and challenge for the title, Hannah only competed on vault, beam and floor. These were however, three exceptional performances and showed that Hannah really is still a very strong force in British gymnastics.

Overall, it was a very dramatic and surprising competition with many ups and downs and some unexpected results. It was one of those competitions where you simply could not predict what would happen next and kept everyone on the edge of their seat.

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