2015 Sainsbury’s School Games Meet The Teams: Wales

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Holly Jones – Swansea Gymnastics Centre

Jolie Ruckley – Cardiff Olympic

Maisie Methuen – Phoenix Gymnastics

Zoe Simmons – The Acadamy

Latalia Bevan – St Tydfils Gymnastics

As with England,  Wales comes to the School games with a team full of gymnasts who have competed at the British Championships at Espoir and Junior level. Likely to make their strongest challenge yet to the English dominance of the event, they may well break the English hold on the AA title, as well as taking several apparatus final medals.

First year junior Holly Jones placed 10th AA  at her first Junior British Championships  this year, she also made the floor final, and took the bronze behind GB Internationals Catherine Lyons and Louise McColgan. She placed 3rd on Vault and 7th on floor at the Celtic Cup, and 3rd AA, 2nd on vault and floor, 3rd on bars at the 2015 Welsh Championships.

Holly also represented Wales at the 2014 School games where she placed 4th in the Vault final, and took the silver medal on floor. Her routine from the AA:

Second year Espoir Jolie Ruckley  is the 2015 Welsh Espoir Champion, also placing 1st on bars and floor, second on beam, and third on vault. At the Celtic Cup she also took the AA title as well as the bars and floor titles, she placed 2nd on beam, and third on vault. Jolie entered her first British Espoir Championships at the end of last year placing 9th AA, and making the bars final finishing in 4th place.  This is her second trip to the school games, last year saw her place 8th AA, and 4th on beam.

Jolie’s floor and beam from the 2014 games.

A favorite for the AA title here at the games, Maisie Methuen needs little introduction to followers of British Gymnastics. December 2014 saw her take the British Espoir AA title, as well as three apparatus medals, she followed that success by entering her first Junior British Championships in March this year, and taking the silver medal AA to Catherine Lyons, as well as picking up bronze in the beam final, and silver on floor. Welsh Junior Champion, first on every piece but bars where she was second, Maisie is not only one of Wales’ top juniors, but also a name we are likely to see on British senior teams of the future. 

2015 saw Maisie called up for international competition. Firstly taking silver with the team at the three way french international, next was the Flanders International Team Challenge where she placed 5th on beam. Maisie was a member of the gold medal winning British Team at the four way junior international at Pipers Vale, then claimed a spot on the EYOF team where she made the vault final with her new handspring pike from half, and performed outstandingly in the beam final to claim the silver medal.

Maisie has upgraded extensively this year, including a new double pike dismount from beam which we may or may not get to see this weekend.

Maisie’s Vault from EYOF

Beam from 2015 Junior British

 Zoe Simmonds Is a second year Espoir Gymnast, having made her debut at the British in December last year finishing 10th AA, and making the vault final finishing in 4th place.  At the Welsh Championships this year she placed 1st on Vault and beam, and second on bars. She was unable to complete her floor meaning she finished in 8th place, but looking at the scores, she was on course to challenge Jolie Ruckley for the title. At the Celtic cup she placed second AA, taking first place on vault and beam, and third on bars.

Zoe qualified to the British Championships by winning the 2014 Challenge Cup, you can see her routines here:

Zoe’s bars from the British Championships:

Latalia Bevan is the second GB international on the Welsh team. 6th AA at the Junior British, and making three finals, Latalia also won the Celtic Cup this year taking the top spot on bars, beam, and floor. At the Welsh Championships she was second AA, talking first on bars, and second on beam, team mate Maisie the only gymnast to better her at this event.

Latalia has been given two international assignments this year, the FIT Challenge where she finished 7th on beam, and the 4 way junior International at Pipers Vale where she helped the team to the gold medal. I enjoy Latalia’s beam and floor work particularly, where she performs gracefully with excellent form, and a clam fluidity of movement.

Good luck girls!