L-R – Alice Kinsella takes silver on bars, Maisie Methuen in action on beam, Megan Parker in action of floor, Alice Kinsella takes silver on floor.
The juniors took to the competition floor for the final time at the European Championships, with five final spots between three of the team.
Starting on bars, Alice went for the same start value she had earlier in the year, but it looks as though the already upgraded routine is progressing further. For Europeans she has taken out the long swing between the toe full and the Pak making the direct connection for 0.1. She has also taken out the long swing before her dismount, and although she competed a double pike as opposed to her usual double layout meaning she lost 0.1 for this championships, you can see that the progression is toward connections, which will continue to build her D score.
After a couple of shaky outings on bars earlier in the year, Alice not only made the Pak three times in this championships, she made it from the toe full so great progress on this piece.
The deductions came on the toe full which was late, and a couple of leg separations on the Maloney and the shoot half, but some nice casts, good swing throughout, and a stuck dismount for a great routine overall. Fourth place in the final, up from 6th in qualification. The Russian gymnasts were far above the rest of the field in D score, so as long as they stayed on were uncatchable, and took gold and silver.
On to beam, and Maisie went up first. Light and extended on the leaps, then yet again absolutely solid on the flick layout layout. So impressive from Maisie that she has hit this series without so much as a flicker three times in her first major international championships. This is a high difficulty routine for a junior, Maisie was awarded the joint highest difficulty of the final, a 5.7, but was actually going for a 6.0. She missed the connection on the free walkover sheep jump for 0.2, and it looks as though even though she made a very good attempt at the change ring, they just took it down 1 difficulty value for having the back foot to shoulder height, rather than head.
Maisie had two reasonably sized wobbles in the routine which kept her off the podium, firstly on the sheep jump, and then on the Onodi, which wobble aside, was as clean as I’ve seen her do it. Very clean on the two and a half twist dismount, and she may not have made the podium today, but for me, Maisie is such an exciting talent on this piece. She has the attack, extension, flow, and execution that international judges look for, and I imagine we will see her in senior international finals in the future.
Alice had a great routine in qualifying, then disappointment in the AA final. Leader at the half way point with two strong pieces to go a fall ended her title hopes. Happily it was redemption today for her. Even better than in qualification, she is now the top scoring junior of 2016 on this piece.
Gasps from the crowd on her flick to chest stand mount, we have been seeing this mount in Great Britain for a long time now, but it is still new to the international audience, and well appreciated. A big wobble on the double spin, to open, but she settled herself well to get though the change to change quarter leaps. Next the acro series, that had caused the problem in the AA, free cartwheel layout and you can see the tension in her face just as she prepares for the skill.
No problem at all today, absolutely solid. A tiny bit off on the free walkover right at the end, but you can see her squeeze the hips in line and refuse to lose control of it. A brilliantly landed two and a half twist, and I love the mixture of joy and relief on her face.
As with Maisie, another very exciting beam worker for the next quad. A silver for Alice 14.166 even with the sizeable wobble, and history made as the first ever junior to take a European beam medal.
The last final of the day, and again two British juniors in action. Megan Parker was up first on floor, and opened the final beautifully with her clean stylish gymnastics. On the live feed you could see all the beam judges smiling as she performed, just enjoying the quality choreography, and commitment to performance. Megan had quite a big bounce to the side which took her out of the area on her opening triple twist, but everything else was excellent. She rightly drew huge applause from the crowd on finishing, clearly appreciating her work. Even with the big bounce to the side and out of bounds, Megan had the second highest E score of the final. She is a little lower in D score at the moment, but I imagine she will add upgrades only as they are completely clean and ready so they fit the rest of her work.
Ooo it was a close one for the title, Alice led right until the last competitior, and was just pipped to the gold by 0.067. Nevertheless, another great performance from her after a long championships where she competed AA twice, then three apparatus finals in one day.
An upgrade to open with, Alice added an extra spin rotation making her Memmel into a Mustafina. She held it well, although just came off the vertical axis on the final half turn, causing her to drop the heel and take 0.1 lower value. Even so, a very good attempt the the incredibly difficult E valued spin, and it was nearly there. Very clean on the one and a half to two and a half, then then made the triple twist, just a little low in the chest on landing and a hop to the side. Good range and extension through the tour jete half through to change half leaps, then double pike with a hop back. Nice double tuck to finish, the highest D score, and no major errors gave her the silver medal. Again a very stylish performance, elegant, well sold, projected outwards, and enjoyed by the crowd.
Championships over for the juniors, a great team result, a little disappointment in the AA but still some excellent routines, and 4th and 5th with errors is a huge result from these very talented young gymnasts.
Five final spots, and two medals, in all a very strong showing from our junior team. Four of the five will turn senior in 2017, with just Taeja remaining in the junior ranks. I’m sure we we will see them in action again before the year is out though as they wrap up their junior careers. Very well done girls.