The weekend of 30th/31st October saw the second instalment of the 2021 South East Regional Championships. The focus this time around was on those participating in the Zinc competition, as well as a few other gymnasts, competing across various levels, that had been unable to compete back in September. For the vast majority of the gymnasts, this was their first competitive action for over 18 months but with the quality on display, you’d have been forgiven for believing otherwise. Five gymnasts were representing Woking at these championships: Bella-Rae Cheeseman-Wheeler, Jessica Donnelly, Rayaan Hussain, Mia Vernon and Maggie Rees.
At a time of the year renowned for spooks and scares, the Woking girls provided only treats as they stole the show, bringing home multiple medals to cap off an immensely successful competition season for the Women’s Artistic Squad. In the team event, Bella, Jess, Rayaan and Mia combined superbly to deliver the silver medal. Next came the All-Around presentations where Jess, scoring an impressive 44.500, was awarded 6th place overall, followed by Bella in 4th with a total of 44.650 which was just a whisker away from a podium finish. But Woking weren’t done there as, with a tremendous score of 45.800, Mia Vernon took the top step on the podium and with it, the gold medal, meaning Woking took up half of the places inside the top 6. In the individual events, the girls shone even brighter with Bella earning a bronze medal scoring 11.950 and Mia finishing just outside the medals in 4th. Mia once again made the trip on to the podium to claim silver on bars with a score of 11.300 and Jess rounded the presentations off superbly as she won a much-deserved gold medal on beam, scoring 11.550 with Mia once again featuring, this time in 6th position.
The afternoon saw the turn of Maggie Rees, competing in the Compulsory 3 level. Maggie, only back in training for a short time prior to the competition following an elbow injury, put on a fantastic display scoring a very commendable 48.400, narrowly missing out on the coveted pass mark. With plenty of positives to take away, namely being able to put full routines together after a frustrating injury, as well as performing one of her best R&C routines, the competition served as a great measuring stick for Maggie as she looks ahead to her next competition.
Overall, a very happy Halloween for the Woking girls’ squad which marked a very successful return to the competition arena following the disruption of the past 18 months. A big thankyou to all the coaches, parents and supporting gymnasts who cheered on throughout the competition. Go Team Woking!
Stoke-on-Trent once again hosted the National Compulsory Level 2 Finals on the weekend of 2/3rd October, which was also a qualifier for the coveted British Championships, set to take place later in the year. Packed with nearly 150 gymnasts trying to score over 54.500 points across five pieces to move up to the elite “British” club, the competition was going to be fierce.
On Saturday in Round 1 representing Woking GC, were Farah Rothwell, Annabella Higgins and Isabelle Millen. It’s not easy to start with Range & Conditioning, a piece where you must show a mix of strength, balance and flexibility, but the girls delivered a superb performance with Annabella scoring whopping 12.10 and finishing inside the top 20 on this piece.
Next up was Vault where all three girls delivered solid performances, followed by Bars, where once again Annabella Higgins showing tremendous work earning another 12 + score and getting complimented by the National coaches for her performance on this piece.
Having had a bit of wobble on Bars, Izzie Millen and Farah Rothwell knew they had to hold their nerve on Beam to deliver clean routines and that’s exactly what they did. Composed, solid work earned enough to stay on track with their target scores.
However, it wasn’t over yet and there was still work to be done on Floor to decide whether they would hit the 54.50 total and earn the right to perform at the biggest domestic competition: The British Championships. First up was Annabella who, showing her natural elegance combined with good tumbling skills, scored 10.600 resulting in a total of 55.300 All Around and with it, a place at the British. Next up was Izzie and there is no other word to describe her routine but masterpiece. Her tremendous showing also dazzled the judges, who rewarded her routine with a score of 11.950 meaning she ended up in the top 15 on this apparatus and finished with a total of 55.425, joining Annabella in qualifying for the British. Last but not least was Farah whose natural power and poise gained her a score of 11.700 on Floor and an All Around score of 54.850, meaning all three girls scored enough to qualify for the illustrious British Championships.
A massive congratulations to the girls whose hard work, dedication and determination culminated in fantastic results, meaning they will now compete alongside Olympic medalists on the biggest domestic stage at The British Championships.
Good luck for The British Championships, Team Woking!