Wednesday 4 July 2012

Wednesday Worries

So near yet so far

With the GB Olympic Team announced today, there are five British women who have managed achieve what they have worked so hard for. Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney, Jenni Pinches and Imogen Cairns were named as the GB Olympic Team earlier this afternoon. Tomorrow I will look in more detail at the members of Team GB, but today I want to consider those who did not make the team and acknowledge the hard work that they have put in to get this far.

Becky Downie
Becky turned senior in 2008 and started her senior career with a very impressive and successful year. In her debut as a senior at the British National Championships she claimed the all around title as well as becoming bars champion. Later that year she was selected as part of the team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Not bad for a first year senior. In the team competition Becky performed well on all four apparatus, helping the team to a 9th place finish and qualifying herself for the individual all around final. She upped her game during the all around and finished a very creditable 12th. In 2009 she cemented her position as top British gymnast by taking her second consecutive National Championships all around title as well as claiming Gold on bars, beam and floor. Becky was unable to defend her National titles in 2010 due to injury, but she did help the team to win the Silver medal at the 2010 European Championships as well as making individual all around and bars finals. She recovered from her injury to compete at the 2010 World Championships, performing on vault, bars and beam to help the team to 7th place. In early 2011 Becky injured her Achilles tendon during training, keeping her out of competition for the majority of the year. She fought hard to recover and was back competing for Britain at the 2011 World Championships towards the end of the year. She competed a full bars routine and a slightly watered down beam routine to help the team qualify 8th and automatically qualify a full team for the Olympics. In 2012 she has competed well on vault, bars and beam showing that she is continuing to gain strength and form. Becky may not have made the Olympic team but I know that she will keep fighting and come back better and stronger than ever.

Danusia Francis
Danusia started her senior gymnastics career in 2010 and took the bronze all around medal in her first senior National Championships as well as taking Gold on beam and floor. In 2011 she took that one step further to take the Silver medal all around as well as taking the Bronze medal on bars and reclaiming her beam title. Danusia made her international senior debut in 2011 at the European Championships, working cleanly on all four pieces of apparatus and earning herself a place in the all around final where she finished 16th. Later that year she was part of the team for the 2011 World Championships where she helped the team to finish in their highest ever 5th place. Danusia is known for her beautiful beam and floor work and her artistry will be very much missed in London. She has accepted a place at UCLA from September and will compete for their gymnastics team as part of the NCAA Championships. I wish her every luck in her future competitions and am sure that she will thoroughly enjoy life and gymnastics in the USA.

Niamh Rippin
Niamh is perhaps one of the lesser known gymnasts who was hoping to make the 2012 Olympic team as she has attended very few international competitions, but her gymnastics skills speak for themselves. One of the highlights of Niamh's career so far has to be her performances at the 2010 European Championships within months of turning senior. Her performances on beam and floor helped Britain to take the Silver medal in the team competition and she also qualified to the floor final where she finished 6th. Unfortunately later that year Niamh suffered from a stress fracture in her back and then, as she started to resume training, she broke her hand. All of this kept her out of any major competition for the remainder of the year. By the time the 2011 British Championships came round Niamh was competing once again and competing well, taking Silver on floor and Bronze on vault. By this year's National Championships she had upped her game, placing 5th all around and becoming 2012 British Champion on vault and floor. Although she will not be competing in London I am sure that we will see plenty more of her dynamic vaulting and tumbling in the future.

Ruby Harrold
Ruby is a first year senior who made her international senior debut at the 2012 European Championships where she was a last minute replacement for team mate Imogen Cairns. Ruby grabbed hold of this opportunity and really excelled in her her first major international competition. She competed on vault and bars, helping the team to 4th place and qualified to the bars final where unfortunately a small error at the end of her routine left her in 7th place. Ruby's strong vaulting and excellent bars work really impressed me at these championships and I was sure she would be one to watch in the future. Unfortunately, injury meant that we wouldn't be seeing as much of Ruby in the near future as I would have hoped. She competed in the British Teams Championships, which was the first of the Olympic Trials, and finished 3rd all around, 1st on vault and 3rd on bars. She missed the second Olympic Trial because of her injury and decided to compete only on bars at the British Championships which served as the third and final Olympic Trial. Sher performed her bars routine incredibly well and came away with the Bronze. She may not have made the Olympic Team this year, but I feel sure that we will be seeing much more of Ruby in the future.


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