2015 World Championships Glasgow. Meet The Team

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The third World Championships in each quad is always the most important. Team qualification to the Rio Olympics can be secured for the British WAG team in just 11 days time, should they manage to finish in the top eight after qualification.  On  the 23rd of  October, at just past four o’clock the British team will take to the beam (of course!) in the Hydro Arena in the fourth subdivision. Competing alongside Brazil and two mixed groups of gymnasts, the GB ladies will be hoping they finish with enough points to sit at either the top, or in second place behind Romania, but ahead of Japan who both compete  before them, in order to rest easy  that strong teams who compete in the later subdivisions are not able to push them out of the team final, and send them to the test event to qualify for Rio in early 2016.

Places in the AA competition and Apparatus Finals are also at stake, bringing the chance to fight for medals, but the major objective here is getting the team qualified to Rio so that work can continue for the Olympics without having to take a trip to Brazil in April.

Although these ladies need little introduction, lets meet the gymnasts selected:

Becky Downie

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Age: 23

Club: Notts Gymnastics Academy

Coaches: Jo Miller and Jemma Wilson

The oldest and most experienced member of this British Team, it is hard to believe that Becky is still only 23 years old. A veteran of six European (where she has four silver and a gold medal to her name) , and five World Championship teams, two Commonwealth Games (two gold, a sliver and a bronze) , and one Olympic Games (Highest ever GB AA placement), Becky brings the experience of six World Championship finals, three team, and three individual, and is exactly the sort of experienced athlete you would want leading Great Britain through the competition.

Becky has in recent years been competing on bars and beam only at major events, and rather like Beth Tweddle before her, is enjoying more success the older she gets. In the last two years Becky has taken European gold and silver on her strongest event bars, a piece where she is dynamic, innovative (Becky has her own move on this piece, the Stalder to piked Tkactchev) and builds to one of the highest D scores in the world (6.9 at the last outing) through complex releases and transitions. A regular in bar finals at major competitions, will this be the year that Becky gets her World medal on this piece?

On beam Becky is fluid and stylish. Her work is dynamic and clean with great extension, and performed as a complete routine with a positive approach to all elements. When she hits she hits beautifully, as demonstrated at the European Championships this year  when she took the silver medal with a routine that many, myself included believe deserved the gold.

Beam at major events is impossible to predict, favorites fall in qualification and miss finals, those that do make finals often succumb to the pressure of the big occasion. Becky’s 14.3 that gave her silver at Europeans would have given her bronze at last years Worlds, and 4th place at 2013’s so the final is a possibility. A strong qualifications performance to help the team will be the aim though, and anything after that a bonus.

Highest Scores 2015

Bars Europeans Final 15.233

Beam Europeans Final 14.30

Beckys Bars Euros 2015 Final

Becky’s Beam Euros 2015 Final

Ellie Downie

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Age: 16

Club: Notts Gymnastics Academy

Coaches: Jo Miller and Jemma Wilson

In complete contrast to her older sister, Ellie goes to Glasgow as a first year senior at her first world level competition. One of the hugely talented crop of juniors British gymnastics fans have been following through the junior ranks, multi Junior European and Youth Olympic medalist Ellie has come storming into the senior ranks in 2015.

Despite dealing with injury and surgery this year, Ellie has posted two of the highest AA scores by a British Gymnast in 2015. Her recent 57.750 at the GB v Holland match is the highest ever AA total by a British Gymnast, and that’s without even competing quite at full difficulty. Ellie of course also made history earlier this year with her bronze AA medal at the European Championships, the first ever by a British gymnast, and an indication that when fit and healthy Eliie looks as though she will  fulfill every bit of the potential she has shown over the years as a junior.

Ellie is a very powerful gymnast, what is so impressive about her work is that unlike many other gymnasts of her type, her form is also excellent allowing for the high D and E scores needed to challenge for high AA finishes. Her recent vault and bars upgrades, are beautifully done as the skills are ready, so she benefits from the addition to her D scores without taking a hit to the E.  It is not impossible that Ellie could go over 58.00 with an absolutely clean competition, a score like that would see her with one of the highest AA finishes by a British Gymnast.

Ellie will also be pushing to make the Vault Final as she did at Europeans. As well as her excellent double twisting Yurchenko, Ellie unveiled a new second vault at the recent GB v Holland competition. She has upgraded her Podkopayeva to the Lopez which is the stretched version of the vault, as is typical with Eliie, the new vault has great height, and impeccable form.

Ellie has also put the standing Arabian back into her beam, although not as yet the double Arabian dismount. She has also upgraded on bars, and on floor is tumbling one and a half to double Arabian, then back with piked double Arabian  which is her most difficult work to date.

Highest Scores 2015:

Vault 14.933 Europeans Qualification

Bars 14.70 GB v Holland

Beam 14.650 Bill McLoughlin

Floor 14.00 GB Holland

Ellie Vault Euros QF

Ellie Bars GB v Holland

Ellie Floor GB v Holland

Ellie Beam Bill McClouglin

Amy Tinkler

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Age : 15

Club : South Durham

Coaches : Nicola Preston, Rachael Wright, Nick Ruddock

First year senior Amy will still be just 15 years old when she competes to qualify Great Britain to the Rio Olympics. Alongside Ellie Downie, Amy has been part of the group of strongest juniors great Britain has ever produced, she is a triple Junior European medalist, and got her senior career off to the best start possible by taking both the English and British AA titles earlier this year.

A place on the senior team for Europeans followed where she just missed out on competing in the AA due to the two per country rule. Amy qualified for the floor final,  placing 6th, a fantastic achievement in her first international senior event.

Amy’s AA total from the British Championships is the 2nd highest from a British Gymnast this year,  and she will be fighting her teammates for an AA final spot in Glasgow, as well as the potential for a spot in the floor final should she qualify at her best.

Amy is an explosive gymnast, especially on floor where she has opened with both a full twisting double straight, and a tucked double double this year. Should she manage to add both to her routine by next summer, she will be hugely competitive on this piece. Amy has a new floor which is choreographed well to suit her, what I like most about watching Amy on this piece is that you see how much she enjoys gymnastics with her effervescent performance style drawing the audience in.

Amy has a double twisting Yurchenko on vault, and an impressive gainer layout-layout on beam along with a high fully rotated triple twist dismount. Bars is probably Amy’s weakest piece at present, but she’s upgraded here with a Markelov , and her swing is getting stronger and more powerful as she matures.

Amy’s 16th birthday falls on the 27th of October, the day of the team final so lets hope she is celebrating with a great day of competition!

Highest Scores 2015:

Vault 14.85 British Championships AA

Bars 13.95 GB v Holland

Beam 14.30 Bill McCloughlin

Floor 14.450 British Championships Apparatus Finals

Amy Vault British Championships

Amy’s new floor from GB v Holland

Amy Beam Bill McCloughlin

Kelly Simm

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Age: 20

Club: Dynamo School of Gymnastics

Coaches: Keith and Debbie Richardson

Kelly Simm has to have been GB’s busiest senior International through 2015. European Games, FIT Challenge, Universiade where she toojk the AA title, and recently GB v Holland, Kelly has secured a spot on her second World Championship team this year with her call to the team for Glasgow.

Kelly has upgraded on all pieces, she has also put it a huge amount of work on improving her E scores, making some smart choices as to which skills are going to bring best results. Upping both scores at the same time is incredibly difficult to achieve, and Kelly deserves a huge amount of credit for the progress she has made in both areas,

On vault Kelly upgraded to the Lopez, (the layout Podkapayeva) . In a smart move with E score in mind, this is one piece where her difficulty has actually lowered slightly, but resulting in good scores as she competes the new vault well. She has only competed the her old first vault the double twisting Yurchenko as her second vault once so far, but the aim must be to compete both.

Bars is where Kelly has made the most impressive jump this year, firstly, she has competed an enormous Ray straight into Tkatchev, but then not content with that, she then upgraded her new upgrade to a piked Galante. She has also added  a toe on full in the last couple of months, connected the  the Pak to the Ray shoot, and changed the Maloney  to a Komova II for good measure. Kelly will be hoping to be selected to compete AA so as to have a chance to get her new skill named after her.

There is also a gymnast from Germany Sophie Scheder who will be hoping to successfully compete the skill, should both gymnasts compete the skill in qualification then neither gets it named to them. If only one is successful, then she will get it,

On beam Kelly has upgraded both her dance and her acro this year, the flick-tuck from last year is now a layout, she has a C-C leap series for 0.1 bonus, and has competed a full in dismount although we haven’t seen it since the earlier part of the year. Kelly has just added the flick to chest stand mount to her routine, should she be selected to compete AA, Kelly will also get to have this skill named after her which would be fitting as it really is the Dynamo beam mount, with a long line of gymnasts from the club competing this skill since Natasha Nolan first performed it nearly ten years ago.

On floor Kelly is a big tumbler, opening with a double layout, then tumbling back with a whip to full in. She has worked hard to find her style on this piece, and bring the performance aspect to her work which doesn’t come naturally.  Kelly’s floor suits her, and should she hit to her best ability she will bring a strong score in for the team on this piece.

Highest Scores 2015:

Vault 14.533 Universiade Apparatus Final

Bars 14.450 GB v Holland

Beam 14.150 Bill McLoughlin

Floor 14.150 FIT Challenge

Kelly Vault Universiade

Kelly Bars  GB v Holland

Kelly Beam Bill McCloughlin 

Kelly Floor FIT Challenge

Claudia Fragapane

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Age: 17

Club: Bristol Hawks

Coaches:  Helen Potter and  Rory Weavers

Usually a lock for British teams, I have been uncertain as to whether we would see Claudia in Glasgow, as she hasn’t been at full strength in recent competitions, and only able to compete on bars and beam. That she is named to the team means she has overcome injury enough to at least contribute on these two pieces, whether she will have recovered enough by the 23rd to also compete on floor and vault remains to be seen. If she has not, then the team will miss her high scoring floor especially, but also her double twisting Yurchenko vault. For Claudia personally a chance at the World floor final will be missed, as she has proved by making European and World finals, that she is one of the best in the world on this piece.

Claudia has contested six European and three world finals, she has two European silver medals, one with the team, and one from her superb floor routine at the 2015 championships. Claudia also took an unprecedented four gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. This year on floor Claudia upgraded her tumbling to open with the full twisting double straight, then double Arabian, triple twist, and finishing with a double layout. A huge set of skills, especially when you take into account how energetic the entire routine is.

On vault Claudia has a double twisting Yurchenko, and on beam she is equally dynamic with a high flick to straight back, a standing full, and a fast, powerful flick to one – flick to two, into a big double pike dismount.

Bars is Claudia’s weakest piece, but she has experimented with an upgrade of toe on piked Tkatchev immediately into Pak this year. She didn’t use it at Europeans where she stuck to the toe full to Pak, whether we see it in Glasgow will depend on how well she has been hitting it in the lead up to the Championships.

Claudia will hoping to celebrate her 18th birthday on the 24th of October knowing that she has helped her team qualify for the Olympic Games.

18/10/15 ETA: Instagram video of Claudia on floor was posted by British Gymnastics yesterday. Not only is it looking like she is ready to go on this piece, but her opening double straight  with full twist which is what the footage was of, looked better than ever. Great to see, and great news for British gym fans!

Highest scores 2015:

Vault 14.80 British Championahips AA

Bars 13.650 British Championships Apparatus Finals

Beam 14.166 European Championships Apparatus Finals

Floor 14.90 British Championships Apparatus Finals

Claudia Vault British Championships AA

Claudia Bars British Championships Apparatus Finals

Claudia Beam European Championships Apparatus Finals

Claudia Floor European Apparatus Finals

Ruby Harrold

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Age: 19

Club: The Academy

Coaches: Liz Kincaid and Nia Edwards

Ruby Harrold has recovered from injury just in time to make the team for the World Championships, having not competed all year until just a month ago when she made her return to competition at the British Team Championships, where she helped The Academy to the bronze medal scoring 14.000 on vault, 13.850 on beam and 12.500 on floor.

We last saw  Ruby in 2014 as part of the victorious English team who took the title at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as well as taking individual AA silver, and bronze in the bars final. Ruby then competed at the 2014 world championships in Nanning China, where she helped the team to 6th place, finished 11th AA, and made the bars final finishing eighth. A shoulder injury kept Ruby out of the American Cup, the English and British Championships, as well as the Europeans team in 2015, so it is great to see her back competing at elite level again.

In the weeks following her return Ruby has been busy competing to prove herself to selectors, and her hard work has clearly paid off. Ruby competed at the Osijek Grand Prix where she took the bars title with her customary unique routine including her Maloney to Bhardwaj, and Van Leeuwen to Zuchold straight in to toe on full. This was Ruby back to full skill level on this piece, and so impressive to see especially after the nature of her injury.

At the GB v Holland competition just over a week ago, Ruby scored 13.850 with a fall on her dismount, which gives an indication of her scoring potential on this piece.

On vault Ruby is back to competing a one and a half twisting Yurchenko for the moment, and on beam she has put in some solid performances considering how long away from competition she has been. On floor Ruby has a double Arabian, straight front with double twist. When she first came back she competed one and a half to straight front, but at GB v Holland added the straight front full,  and finished with a double tuck.

It’s great to see Ruby continuing to compete for the British team for now, as she has committed to LSU to join the NCAA collegiate program for when she calls time on her elite career.

Highest Scores 2015:

Vault 14.00 British Teams

Bars 14.20 Osijek grand Prix

Beam 13.85 British Teams

Floor 12.90 GB v Holland

Ruby Vault British Teams

Ruby Bars Osijek GP

Ruby Beam BritishTeams

Ruby Floor British Teams

Charlie Fellows

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Age: 18

Club: City of Liverpool

Coach: Claire Hynd

Selected as traveling reserve to the team, Charlie will train with the team, take part in podium training, and be ready to compete should anything happen to another of the team members.

Followers of British Gymnastics will have been familiar with Liverpool gymnast Charlie for some time now. A strong junior and member of the 2012 Junior European team, Charlie marked her debut senior year with a place on European team, as well as the team that traveled out to Antwerp for the world championships.

At this years British Senior Championships, Charlie was 9th overall despite problems on floor and beam, she also made the bar final.

This year Charlie  has competed in Ghent at the FIT challenge, at the European Games in Baku, and recently at GB v Holland.

On vault she has a strong Yurchenko full generating excellent height from the block,and maintaining excellent form throughout.

Unsurprisingly, as a Liverpool gymnast Charlie has a great swing on bars.  Most of her difficulty is built from transitions, and she works the bars and her shape changes very well to get the most out of them. She also has a Markelov toward the end of the routine, and finishes with a very impressive double straight.

On beam her work is elegant, her long lines very effective when she’s hitting with great form. Charlie opens with a front on, then connects a split leap to scissone, to free walkover. She hits good positions in her leaps, and her acro elements are high and well landed. She dismounts with a very high and impressive flick to one – flick to two – double tuck, and is proving herself to be a reliable beam worker in competition with three hit routines on the weekend on the British Teams/Bill McLoughlin championships.

On floor Charlie has a maturity to her performance, working well to her dramatic tango music which is new for the second half of this year. She twists and somersaults well, opening will a high piked full-in, including a nice whip to double tuck, and one and a half to double twist, then finishing with a good double pike.

Highest scores 2015

Vault 14.10 Bill McLoughlin

Bars 13.70 Baku

Beam 13.350 British Teams

Floor 13.30 FIT Challenge

Charlie Vault British Teams

Charlie Bars  Baku

Charlie Beam British Teams

Charlies new Floor. British Teams

Well done to all the gymnasts and coaches, those who have trialed, and those selected. Good luck, and have a great championships!

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