The South East Regional Championships took place across the weekend of 18th/19th September at Guildford Spectrum. Just shy of 150 gymnasts were competing, 8 of whom represented Woking, in what was the first regional competition for more than 18 months.
The first action of the weekend was the ‘Copper’ competition which, due to the large number of competitors, was split across two rounds. There were 5 gymnasts from Woking competing in round 2 at this level: Kimberley Ly, Zara Naidu, Shannah Culwick, Julia Hamasaki-Colombini and Heidi Woodhatch. Each of the girls performed exceptionally, showing great composure and elegance across all pieces, with their hard work and dedication over this challenging period coming to fruition as they won silver in the team event. But the success didn’t end there for these girls as they also recorded a further 6 individual medals. The first of these was 3rd place all around for Kimberley, with Zara finishing 4th. Next came the individual apparatus medals, where Kimberley won gold on vault to give her a full set of medals, with Zara and Julia finishing just outside the medals in 5th and 6th respectively. On beam it was Zara who would take the top step on the podium to earn herself gold, joined by her teammates Julia and Kimberley who finished joint 3rd. The last of the medal presentations were for floor, where Heidi topped the scores to win gold, with Kimberley finishing 6th, meaning Woking girls had won gold in 3 of the 4 individual apparatus events. A fantastic return to competition from all of them, doing their club immensely proud!
Next up for Woking was round 6 on Sunday, which saw the turn of Farah Rothwell, Annabella Higgins and Isabelle Millen in the Compulsory 2 event. This event was the practice run before their national finals at the start of October. Despite the nature of this particular competition, and having not competed for quite some time, the girls delivered a superb performance culminating in a team bronze medal, meaning every Woking gymnast competing at these championships left with a medal. Annabella and Izzie finished the competition with scores of 56.750 and 55.975 respectively, both passing with flying colours. Annabella also took the accolades for 1st place in Range & Conditioning, as well as 2nd on bars. Farah, competing for the first time in 3 years and also carrying an injury, mustered 5 outstanding routines to score 51.900, narrowly missing the pass mark. These 3 will head to Stoke-on-Trent in a couple of weeks for their main event, buoyed by the results from this competition, hoping to hit the pass mark to qualify for the British Championships in November.
After nearly two years without competitions, eight of our Men’s Artistic Squad travelled to the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff to take part in the British Championships.
The weekend began with the Under 16 competition. Joel Ireland competed his Healy on P-Bars for the first time, but mistakes across the other apparatus proved costly as he finished in 39th place. Not long back from injury, it was a similar story for Josh Porter; whilst clearly disappointed with his 24th place finish, he can be proud of a solid H-bar routine and upgraded vault. Sarp Orbay enjoyed a great day amongst a tough field. Despite a fall on P-Bars, Sarp’s improved routines were enough for him to score over 70 for the first time and cement a top 10 finish.
With Saturday morning came the turn of the U18s. Christian Fuoco’s preparation had been hindered by a positive COVID result but he showed great determination to compete across all six apparatus and even found the courage to complete his double back dismount off H-Bar. Christian finished the day in 19th place AA. Also competing was Charlie Rose, nerves got the better of Charlie in the early stages of his Pommel routine but he was able to perform an impressive Flair Magyar. He composed himself for rings, performing a tidy routine with just over a mark in deductions.
The showpiece event of the weekend was the senior competition. With all of the team from Tokyo taking a well-earned break; the door was open to crown a new British Champion. Unfortunately it was not the day Jamie Lewis had hoped for. Whilst he showed flashes of brilliance, a number of errors and falls condemned him down into 9th place. Fraser Griffiths had a mixed day, making mistakes on Pommels and Floor, but going clean on P-bars and Vault. Fraser demonstrated great attitude and team spirit to motivate everyone around him. Tim McCarthy can be pleased with his performances as he bounced back from a fall on P-Bars to perform good routines on Pommels and Vault.
Injuries are unfortunately a part of our sport, and our thoughts are with Rudi Moriano and Jasper Smith-Gordon who had to withdraw before the competition due to injuries sustained in training. Jasper has undergone surgery for a ruptured Achilles and we send him our best wishes as he recovers at University in America. Rudi’s injury was fortunately not as severe and he was able to attend the competition as a spectator. His support throughout the day was very much appreciated. Well done to all the gymnasts and coaches. Full results and videos of the routines are available on the BG score app.