Junior Cup competitors
The British Junior team travelled to Montreal to take part in the 25th annual Gymnix International over the weekend. A prestigious event, and the opportunity to test themselves against many of the best junior gymnasts in the world, as other than China, the top teams were represented with USA, Russia, Romania, and Japan all in attendance.
Firstly, it is disappointing not to be able to bring you many videos of the event, Flogymnastics secured streaming rights to the competition, and made it available on their pro service only, which means that unless you pay, you can’t see it. I paid the monthly membership fee so that I could bring a detailed report to followers of British gymnastics, and tweet live as the event happened. I wrestled with doing so, as I am financially supporting the idea that gymnastics coverage should be exclusive to those who are willing to pay, whereas I firmly believe the opposite. I very much hope this is not the way gymnastics coverage will go, not just for ordinary fans, but should Ellesse, Alice, Maisie, and Taeja’s parents have to pay to watch their own children compete now, when most competitions that don’t happen to be under subscription service can be seen on youtube thanks to fans who are willing and happy to record and share the action for nothing but the love of the sport? Should absent coaches have to pay to see their gymnasts they have worked tirelessly with compete? Without the parents and coaches there would be no gymnasts to film and charge people for, I couldn’t disagree more with the concept. I hope very much this isn’t something that spreads, I think of people like SusanW who travels to so many British competitions, takes great quality footage, and happily shares it with everyone so they can enjoy and support our gymnasts in their efforts. People like her, and the many like her worldwide that do the same should be celebrated and applauded. Not to mention British, USA, and Russian gymnastics who stream their championships for free year after year. Shutting people out does not promote sport, making coverage financially exclusive discourages mass following and participation. This is not something that massively affects British gymnastics as yet, and I would hate to see it do so, but as well as British, I am a world gymnastics fan, and I suspect I am not alone in my opinions here.
I absolutely appreciate the Flogymnastics are a business, and as such will need to make a profit. Whereas it would be great to see all the excellent training, documentary, and feature videos they produce for free, I do understand these cost to produce, so charging people is where they will recoup the money, and make their profit. It is the competition coverage I take the most exception to, ensuring that there is no other option but to pay should you wish to see the routines.
After that, on to the competition!
As I mentioned in the meet the team post, the original team was changed due to injuries to Latalia Bevan and Jolie Ruckley, so Maisie Methuen and Alice Kinsellsa were joined by first time internationals Ellesse Oates and Teaja James.
First up was the team/AA event with a mixed day for the girls in that there was a lot of excellent gymnastics, but also the team did have three falls which of course affected their total as even with a four up three to count format, they had to count a fall on bars. They were far from alone though, with many of the teams counting falls, including second placed Russia who also had three falls, and had to count one on beam.
Starting on vault, and a solid opening piece for the girls. Ellesse vaulted a handspring pike front needing a large step to bring it under control, but a solid opener for 13.325.
Alice vaulted a nice and well landed full twisting Yurchenko for 13.875, then followed with a straight Yurchenko with a hop back, for 13.425. An average of 13.650 gave her a place in the vault final.
Maisie also claimed a place in the vault final with a handspring piked front half to open with, a little low in the chest on landing, and a small pace for 13.825. she then performed a handspring piked front for her second vault, really well executed, but needing a bigger step to control the landing for 13.575. Average of 13.70
Taeja opened with a full twisting Yurchenko with a big bounce back for 13.80, she then also went for the straight Yurchenko again with the hop back, for 13.475. Average of 13.6375
On to bars, Taeja went up first, and after almost going over on her opening cast to handstand, she settled well into her routine. Taeja really attacks her gymnastics, and what I like about her is that she tries to go for the maximum on all her skills. Sometimes she puts a little too much in, and like here she had to fight to keep it under control, but I believe as she progresses, she will lean exactly how much to give everything, and really perform her skills with that extra virtuosity that makes the best gymnasts really stand out.
Blind turn into big Jaeger, just losing her leg form a little at the end of the skill. Toe on and off, into nice flighted Tkatchev, shoot half landing right in handstand, then shooting back to the highbar, she just mistimed the skill, and came off. Taeja repeated the skill again this time with no problems, giant full, then nice full out dismount to finish. 12.675 (5.1 D 7.025 E)
Next up was Ellesse, so stylish on this piece, she opened with a lovely Gienger, then was a little late on her giant full, but did the Pak to low bar well. Then a sharp cast to handstand top turn, toe on and off, shoot back to high bar, and hitting a great handstand on her cast. Blind in, forward giant, then finishing with a double front with just a small pace. A great routine for her first international, and with one of the highest E scores, there really is some quality work here for her to build the difficulty on. 12.950 (4.90 D 8.050 E)
Maisie has upgraded her bars since last year, she’s added a toe full at the beginning, and is now linking the Maloney to the clear circle to handstand, then straight into the Tkatchev. She did come quite short on the cast into the Maloney today, as well as the clear circle, so would have had a deduction there, but it’s great to see her building the difficulty.
Shoot half to low bar, toe shoot back to high, blind in, top out, then she’s brought back the full out to finish with. A good performance, and a place in the bar final was the reward. 13.20 (5.1 D 8.10 E)
Closing out the bars rotation, Alice has upgraded since we last saw her in competition in December. 0.3 up on D score, and a completely reworked routine. Opening with the toe half to Jaeger, then toe full on the high bar now, a little late on completing the turn today. Giant, and into the Pak. Unfortunately Alice didn’t get a solid catch on the low bar, she tried to adjust, but wasn’t able to save the skill causing her to come off. Back on to finish the routine, toe on and off, Maloney, shoot half back to the low bar. Toe shoot to high bar, toe on and off, then two giants into double straight dismount, running out of steam a little at the end meant a lower landing and having to take two paces forward.
It may not have gone to plan today, but great upgrades, and Alice was clearly cross with how it had gone showing her strong determination to compete to her best ability. 12.550 (5.60 D 6.950 E)
Ellesse started things off on beam, opening with change leg to sissone, she went safely and confidently through the flick layout and the free walkover. There were issues on both skills with leg extension for the E panel to get their teeth into, but a solid start. The sheep jump I don’t think she would have been awarded on the day, and I have seen her make much better attempts, change leap quarter turn with a wobble, but kept on, then a good punch front with a small step. Side some again with a wobble on landing, then finishing with a double tuck, a little low on landing, but safely through. It was a bit of a tentative performance, but Ellesse held her nerve and made it through without major error, so well done. 12.80 (5.30 D 7.50 E)
Maisie was up next, and she really is developing into a very stylish worker on this piece. Great extension all the way through her legs and feet on the opening change to sissone, flick layout layout, then double spin. She didn’t totally commit to the change to ring, it’s an incredibly difficult skill hence the E value, and anything other than hitting the exact position required results in it being devalued. Maisie also ambitiously tried the free walkover connected to the sheep jump , not quite making the connection on the day, and not getting the position on the sheep jump, so again taking the downgrade. When she has it solid however, it’s a big 0.8 for both skills, plus 0.2 connection. Maisie had a big wobble on the Onodi, but kept it on, then finished with the two and a half twist with a pace to the side.
13.025 (5.40 D 7.625 E) Maise is going for a 5.9 D though, so great potential in this routine.
Taeja opened confidently with the flick to chest stand mount, wolf turn, and change half with a little bobble which she controlled well. Handstand into two layouts with great dynamism and extension, she had a big wobble at the end, but fought well to stay on. Good punch front with a little hop, she was a little short of split on the back leg her change leap into W jump. The free cartwheel didn’t quite go over the top, so she landed a little off line which took her off the beam. Side somi which she again fought well to hang on to, then an excellent two and a half twist with a great landing.
Not the routine Taeja would have wished for, but she works so well on this piece, sharp, confident and flowing throughout, very promising. 12.525 (5.5 D 7.025 E)
Alice also opened with the flick to chest stand, then made the double spin with just a small wobble at the end. She went for an upgrade to her leaps, changing the split leap to change leap for a change to change quarter. She didn’t make the connection here, but it’s a 0.1 when she does, as well as the new C leap. Lovely free cartwheel layout series, with a small adjustment, then W jump to sissone for the requirement, and into the free walkover. Alice had a big wobble on this skill, but managed to stay on. Finishing with a two and a half twist with a small hop, it was again a routine with great promise for the year to come, and Alice like Maisie is elegant and stylish on this piece. 13.325 (5.5D 7.925 E)
Finally on to floor, Ellesse went up first, and a change to her opening element, with the tour jette full changed for a split jump full. One and a half twist to double twist opening tumble with a hop back, change to ring, then tour jette full for an upgraded dance passage. Two and a half twist second tumble, a hop back on landing, then double spin with a bit of loss of control taking her off the vertical axis. Ellesse had to fight having landed deep on her full twisting straight front, but she did well to take just one pace, finishing with a double tuck, a little low on landing, but well done to Ellesse in her first international, through with no major errors. 12.375 (5.0 D 7.375 E)
Taeja opened with a big double tuck with the tiniest hop on landing, this is definitely a place holder skill, as she was doing the double pike here. In podium training right at the end of floor, and just in the edge of the picture I thought I saw her do a full in, but I’m not 100% sure. Whether she did or not, I think we’ll see a new tumble here imminently. Straight front to full twisting straight front, and again in podium training she did a one and a half in her routine, and I think a double when just tumbling. Also, she’s moved the two and a half twist to the end of the routine, so again it suggests an upgrade is planned here. The same leap series, hop full to split full, then switch half to the corner. One and a half twist to straight front, but she did have to bend her legs today. A change to her spins, double L spin to single spin, then finishing with the two and a half twist. 13.025 (5.0 D 8.025 E)
Taeja was the only one of the British girls not to have her coach with her, and despite the two falls has shown such huge promise here. A young junior, not senior till 2018, if you are not familiar with her, then remember the name as looking at the skills she has in training, she has the potential to have a big second year as a junior, then hit the senior ranks as one of GB’s new stars.
Alice has upgraded on floor since December, she started with the Memmel spin to back spin, then tumbled one and a half to two and a half, an extra half twist on the second element. Triple twist second tumble, again an upgrade from the double pike, then upgraded dance passage with the change leap to change half upgraded to tour jette half to change half. The double pike moves to the third tumble, then finishing with a double tuck. Alice did have a couple of low landings, but has clearly worked very hard to be able to have all of her upgrades competition ready in just a couple of months. She was awarded a 5.0 D score in December, and a 5.6 here, so great work. I think now the difficulty is in, we’ll see the E score rising through the year. A place in the floor final was the reward for her efforts, 13.50 (5.6 D 7.9 E)
Maisie opens with her dance passage which is a lovely change as it’s so rare. I like it when gymnast does something a little different to stand out. Change to ring to tour jette half beautifully done, then opening tumble of a high double tuck. A little too much power and a big step back, this is also a place holder tumble, likely for the lovely double Arabian she now has. The double pike has moved to the second tumble, then Johnson half which is the change to side with an added half turn. Double spin to back spin, handspring straight front full to stag leap, then a very tidy handspring to straight front with double twist.
Maisie performed absolutely beautifully, she smiles, she projects, she emotes. Her work is clean and flowing, and the routine is lovely. The difficulty here was what kept the score down, a 5.0 meant she wasn’t able to make the final, but the 4th highest E score reflects the quality. If she is able to up up her difficulty but keep the same level of execution we will see her getting places in finals. 13.350 (5.0 E 8.350 E)
In the end, 7th place for the girls on the day. As I said, other teams did have errors, but they did have higher difficulty meaning D score wise the British team were at a disadvantage. Looking at the D scores across the teams in 1st to 7th, taking the top three highest as Japan only competed three gymnasts, it will come as no surprise that the US were way out in front three points clear of second place Russia. What does become clear is that difficulty is deciding the placings, with only France taking E score advantage by beating GB when they were just below them in D score.
- USA 170.350
- Russia 163.8
- Canada 162.125
- Japan 161.65
- Romania 161.475
- France 160.075
- GB 159.350
- Belgium 150.250
D Scores per team
USA VT 17.10, UB 17.30, BB 17.80, FX 17.00. Total 69.3
RUS VT 15.80, UB 17.30, BB 17.50, FX 16.30. Total 66.30
CAN VT 15.50, UB 16.40, BB 17.50, FX 16.30. Total 65.70
JPN VT 15.80, UB 16.40, BB 15.60, FX 16.30. Total 64.80
ROU VT 15.8, UB 15.00, BB 17.20, FX 16.40. Total 64.40
FRA VT, 15.0, UB 15.60, BB 16.80, FX 15.30. Total 62.60
GB VT, 15.0, UB 15.80, BB 16.40, FX 15.60. Total 62.80
Three apparatus finals for the British girls, starting on floor, and Alice did brilliantly, raising her E score by 0.1 which was enough to take the bronze medal. 13.60 A great reward for such hard work in upping her difficulty over the last couple of months, and in fact the second highest D score in the final.
Both Maisie and Alice competed in the vault final, Maisie placed 6th with 13.975 average, after improving on both vaults. The handspring piked front half scored an extra 0.2 from qualification for 14.025, and the handspring piked front an extra 0.4 for 13.925. Third highest E score average from Maisie, excellent work.
Alice placed eighth with an average of 13.50. 13.875 for her full twisting Yurchenko the same as in qualification, and 13.225 for the straight Yurchenko, which was a little down on qualifying.
Maisie contested the bars final, improving from qualification she gained 0.1 in D score for 5.20, and also managed a higher E score for 8.20. A total of 13.40, up 0.2, and another great performance from Maisie.
Full results from the competition can be found here:
Well done to all gymnasts and coaches, the young Brits have returned home to carry on preparing for upcoming competitions, and trials for Junior Europeans which is their biggest competition this year. Both Russia and Romania fielded their strongest teams here so we have a good idea of how they are going to look for junior Europeans. Russia look very strong, but I think Romania are catchable, and a repeat of team silver is well within possibility.
Newly crowned Scottish AA senior champion Cara Kennedy, and bronze medalist Shannon Archer both of Gity of Glasgow competed in the Challenge category. Cara placed 17h with 48.850, and Shannon 20th with 48.35.
Shannon made the vault final qualifying in third place, she vaulted really well to finish with the silver medal with an average of 13.336 (13.70, 13.033)
Cara made the floor final finishing 6th, a great routine just unfortunately running out of steam right at the end on her double pike which is what kept her from the medals, and looking at the scores she would have likely taken gold should she have kept to her feet. 12.575 (5.10 D 7.475 E)
Well done to both gymnasts