In this first team feature ahead of the 2016 School Games, a look at team England. As is often the case with the English team having a larger pool of gymnasts to draw on, this is a completely new team for 2016, and also a young team, with just one of the gymnasts turning senior in 2017. The English team do not necessarily choose the highest ranking junior gymnasts, so no European medalists Alice Kinsella, Taeja James, Megan Parker. They have all competed at the school games as younger gymnasts, and it is now the turn of those coming through behind them to take their turn.
In a change to the original selection published, second year juniors European team silver medalist Lucy Stanhope, and European team reserve Sophie Scott will not compete, neither will first year junior Megan Splain. This may be a younger team, but every gymnast on it is in the British junior national squad, with the exception of youngest member Halle Hilton who remains in British development squad for this year as she is so young.
Let’s meet the gymnasts.
Club – Park Wrekin
Coaches – Brett Ince, Christine Still
Turning Senior – 2017.
Ellesse is the most senior gymnast on the English team, and has been gaining her first international experience this year having been selected to represent Great Britain for the International Gymnix, and the four way GB-FRA-GER-SUI international. She was one of the reserves for the junior European team, and competed well nationally taking the silver on vault at the English championships, and the AA bronze at the British championships, making all apparatus finals, and taking silver on bars. Ellesse will look to challenge for an AA medal, as well as leading England in the team event.
Ellesse’s bars from the British championships:
Club – The Academy
Coach – Liz Kincaid
Turning Senior – 2018
Amelia joined the junior ranks this year, having finished her Espoir career taking the AA silver medal at the British championships in December 2015. In her first junior British this year, Amelia competed very well against the strong British juniors to finish eighth AA, and make the bars and beam final. Amelia was also part of The Academy’s team who took the gold medal the British Team champions earlier this year, and is a strong up and coming AA gymnast.
Amelia’s floor from the 2016n Junior British championships
Club – Heathrow
Coaches – Vince Walduck, Michelle Walduck
Turning Senior – 2018
Another first year senior, Chiara started her year placing 6th AA at the English championships, and taking the bronze medal on beam against very strong competition including the entire junior European team (Maisie competed as a guest). Chiara also placed 10th AA at the British junior championships, and made the bars final. Chiara works cleanly and precisely, and is increasing her difficulty while maintaining her high execution levels.
This is Chiara’s beam from the 2015 English Espoir championships where she took the AA title. She has upgraded from here, using a flick layout layout and a flick to one, flick to two double twist dismount earlier this year. Unfortunately her beam from 2016 isn’t available, but I do remember how polished it was, and she was rightfully awarded the highest score of the day.
Club – Slough
Coaches – Ellie Jones, Amy Jones
Turning Senior – 2019
Amelie Morgan is one of only two Espoir gymnasts selected to the British junior national squad for 2016. A second year Espoir, Amelie was the combined compulsory and voluntary British champion at levels 3 and 2, as well as taking the compulsory one British title last spring, and then placing 4th AA in her first British Espoir championships in December 2015, where she also made all apparatus finals and took silver on vault, gold on beam, and sliver on floor. Amelie took the English Espoir title earlier this year, bronze on vault, gold on bars and beam, and sliver on floor. Amelie’s gymnastics is very clean, and she will be the favourite for the British Espoir title in December. She is unquestionably the strongest gymnast from her year, and definitely one to watch for the next junior European championships in 2018.
Amelie’s floor from the English Espoir Championships 2016.
Club – Europa
Coaches – David-Roy Wood, Rochelle Douglas
Turning Senior – 2020
Youngest member of the English team, Halle Hilton is still just a first year Espoir, with over a year before she joins the junior ranks, and not senior until the year the Tokyo Olympics come around. One of the British youngsters I am keeping a very keen eye on, Halle is a hugely promising AA gymnast, a powerful floor and vaulter, and outstanding on beam with some incredible work for her age in training. She is also very clean and expressive in her work, as we have come to expect from the Europa gymnasts. Halle passed her compulsory one earlier in 2016 taking the British title, she also entered the English Espoir championships earlier in the year, taking the bronze AA. Halle is also one to watch over the next couple of years, and could well find herself as a first year junior on the 2018 junior European team.
Halle’s bars from the 2016 English Espoir Championships
Good luck team England!