Report And Video 2016 British Espoir Championships


The British Espoir Championships took place over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of December, at the Basildon Sports Complex, home of South Essex Gymnastics Club. I have already posted full results here:


Apparatus Finals:

Let’s have a look at the story behind the results.

Firstly a note on injury, missing from the Championships was Slough’s Amelie Morgan, favourite for the title following her recent international scores and success. Amelie picked up a minor injury during the week, so wisely sat out the competition, we will see her again in the spring when she is likely to challenge at junior level.
The Academy’s Phoebe Jakubczyk was unfortunately injured on floor, a great shame for her as she had qualified for the vault final. Phoebe has a small bone chip in her foot, which means she will be in a cast for the next couple of weeks, we’ll see back strong next year.
City of Newcastle’s Jessica Seager tore her hamstring on floor, and was unable to compete on beam, she again has the time to rest and heal now ready to enter the junior ranks in 2017.
On the Sunday in Apparatus finals it looks as though Heathrow’s Rochelle Spencer-Smith was injured on her first vault, as she was unable to compete her second, and withdrew from the floor final.
I’m sure you all join me in wishing all these young gymnasts a speedy recovery.


Some of the AA scores are affected by the GB bonus which is available for Espoir gymnasts, for details see here:


First year Espoir Halle Hilton took the AA title by 1.8 points, a convincing victory,  and the third different gymnast from Europa to take this title in the last five years. This victory all the more impressive as Halle was dealing with an ankle and hamstring issue which clearly affected her in certain areas.
Starting on vault with a full twisting Yurchenko, Halle was a little short on landing, but still a good vault scoring well with 13.950.
On to bars, the same strong well drilled handstand shapes we’re used to seeing from her to open the routine with the cast then clear circle to handstand. Shoot to high bar, the giant full finished within the required 10° of handstand, blind in, forward giant into the soon to be E rated piked Jaeger. A nice swing half turn finishing in handstand, then finishing with longswings into stuck double pike. Bars is currently Halle’s weaker piece of the four, but she is progressing nicely here with a strong swing and technique which will allow her to increase her difficulty. 12.050.
On her strongest piece beam, opening with the attacking beam work we always hope to see, flick to chest stand mount, then a beautifully done flick flick layout. Halle is capable of fitting six acrobatic skills in a row on beam, consequently this difficult series looked easy for her. Lovely light, extended change to sissone, stretched right through to her feet. She was a little short on the change half, causing her to wobble, she then had a tiny adjustment on landing her free cartwheel. Free walkover, then a bigger wobble after the sheep jump, but she brought it back under control. Finishing with a double twist and a little scurry backwards, well fought under pressure for 13.850.
Finishing on floor, the dramatic music and choreography which suits her so well, a committed performance to presenting the routine as a whole with expression and artistic delivery throughout. Unsurprisingly some troubles on landing today, full twisting straight front to tuck front, double pike with two large steps back, then a big step and out on the two and a half. My favourite part of the routine, one of those little things that Europa do so well, a original twist on a standard skill which I appreciate so much. Change leap to straddle jump, the straddle jump landing on her knees, immediate bounce to feet. Simple, but individual and effective. 13.200
Halle scored 53.050 to take the British title (52.550 without GB bonus), an impressive total when you consider she wasn’t at her strongest. She fought well, and her competitive fire is one of the many things I admire about this young gymnast. Halle has another whole year in the Espoir ranks, she’s going be very hard to beat.

The increasingly strong Welsh program placed three gymnasts in the top eight, two of who took silver and bronze respectively.
Silver went to Paige Thomas of Neath Afan, starting on bars with lovely clean lines, blind in to piked Jaeger, longswings into shoot half, toe on, shoot to high bar, well executed giant full, and finishing with a double pike with a small hop. 12.60 the deserved highest bars score of the day, for her clean flowing work. No footage available of Paige’s beam, she scored 11.850 which I don’t know whether is a strong routine or not from her on this piece.
On floor Paige has the grace, style and elegance we’re used to seeing from the young Welsh gymnasts, there is a hint of Maisie Methuen in her performance, and that is never a bad thing. A nice Butterfly into the corner to begin, clean double pike with a hop back to open. Again very clean through the one and a half to punch front, change to ring, through to split leap full dance passage, tidy double tuck to finish for 13.350.
Finishing on vault, a nice clean straight Yurchenko with a step to control the landing, 13.40, and a total of 51.250 for Paige.
Bronze went to Sioned Thomas of Swansea. Starting on floor with a big high double tuck, so much power there that she had quite a bounce back on landing. Nice Popa jump, then change to change half leaps. Very clean dynamic handspring double twisting straight front second tumble, change three quarter leap to straddle jump, clean stuck full twisting straight front to finish. Paige is fast twitch, snappy, and dymamic, very exciting potential on this piece 13.350.
Handspring piked front half with a pace on vault for 13.400, bars looks to be Sioned’s weaker piece at present, she works solely on the high bar for now which means she is a little lower in difficulty. Good strong short clear to handstand, she was a bit late on her giant full, and will become cleaner on her turns in general as her technique improves. Nice double tuck to finish, 11.20.
Fiishing on beam, it wasn’t Sioned’s best day on this piece, but again there is great potential here. Front on to start, I always love a big beam mount, a wobble today, but she fought and kept it on. The change to change half took her off the beam, she then had a smaller wobble on the back tuck. Great attack on the change to side leap, she was off balance on landing, but kept it on. She had another big wobble on the flick linked to free cartwheel, but a lovely series. Nice sissone to W jump, and a clean full twisting straight front dismount. Not her best beam by any means, but very much one where you see the potential rather than the errors. 50.200 total for Sioned.

South Durham’s Leah Greenland placed 4th, she is another little power pack from the Pink Ladies, so reminiscent of Amy Tinkler that I have taken to calling her mini Amy. Dynamic straight Yurchenko to open for 13.40, then onto bars where she almost overcooked the opening handstand, but as short handstands are a real bugbear of mine, I would rather see young gymnasts really going for hitting the full handstand position any day than holding back. Toe on and off into handstand, sole circle to high bar, then another strong cast hitting handstand right on top of the bar. Leah was a tiny bit late on her giant full, but she’s clean and tidy in her swing with great extension. High double tuck to finish, 13.400.
On to beam, tidy change leap to sissone to split jump opener, solid through the flick layout, then a tiny adjustment on the change half, but very strongly dealt with. A little leg lift after the free walkover, but again swiftly bough under control. Double twist with a little scurry back to finish for 12.450.
Finishing on floor, Leah’s  qualified for the final in third place with 13.250. Double tuck with a small controlled pace to open, clean dance passage of change ring through to change half, big one and a half twist to punch front with a little hop. She was a little short of split on the split full, but finished with an clean and very easy for her double twist with a small hop.
Leah’s gymnastics is confident and dynamic, she seems to relish competition, and performs with energy, enthusiasm, and a smile on her face. Remind you of anyone?

The Norfolk Academy’s Annie Young finished in 5th, she had a great competition on the day. Starting on vault with a piked Tsuk for 13.050, she’s a promising bar worker with a strong swing, lovely opening to her routine with short clear into beautifully extended handstand immediate shoot to highbar with great counter rotation giving her the swing out. Toe on and off, blind in to high straddled Jaeger. Swing half turn to handstand which almost went the wrong side on the bar, but again better to see the skill taken to the maximum rather than undercooked. A little late on the giant full, and a high double tuck to finish for 11.900.
Yet another confident young beam worker, Annie opened with a jump to side split mount where there was a nice choreographic tough where she linked her hands behind her back. Flick layout with the tiniest of adjustments, then a very light and confident change leap to sissone. Standing tuck, then roundoff full twist dismount which lacked the real pop off the end she’ll need to upgrade, but in all a very good routine very well performed with a nice light flowing style, great potential. 12.450.
Finishing on floor, a fun energetic, well presented routine from Annie, high double tuck with a pace to open, and another high clean one and a half to punch front  with a small hop second tumble. Good change to ring through to change to side, double twist to finish. 12.350 giving her a total of 49.750.

Rounding off the top six was Isla Lees of Notts. Along with South Durham, Notts brought the highest number of Espoir gymnasts this year, with three apiece. Both teams clearly building well for the future. Isla started on beam, and after a very long concentration pause, unfortunately fell on her opening flick layout. She then fell again on her change to change half leaps, but the positive was that they were high and beautifully extended throughout. Isla recovered well, beautiful free walkover to split jump to sissone, showing good range throughout. Again great range in the ring leap, the head release, the arch, and the knee bend all there, she was just a little unsure of herself on landing. A rare back walkover with the front foot through into immediate splits was a lovely touch, then finishing with a tidy straight front dismount. Two falls meant 10.600 for Isla, however as her confidence builds to get the flow of this routine going, she has the potential to be an absolutely beautiful beam worker.
Isla’s floor isn’t available, a shame as she was the highest scorer of the day with 13.700.
No surprise at all as a Notts gymnast that Isla has potential on bars. At the moment her work is all on the high bar so her difficulty is a little down, but she has a good clean swing, her turns are either in handstand or close enough to handstand, she caught her Tkatchev, and finished with a really high stuck double pike. Good work for 12.050.
A clean piked Yurchenko with a pace to finish, a mixed competition fort Isla, but definitely another onto my ones to watch list.

There are far too many routines from far too many gymnasts to comment on them all, but other standouts include Amelia Thomas another beautifully clean talented youngster from the Welsh program qualifying for bars and floor finals, Leeds Shanna-Kae Greant who  achieved the second highest individual vault score of the day, then had a really rough time on bars, beam, and floor, but is absolutely packed with potential. Notts Scarlett William’s beautifully extended straight Yurchenko, Heathrow’s Roshell Spencer-Smith’s highest individual vault score of the day for her full twisting Yurchenko, Mia Scott another talent packed youngster from South Durham with her big full in off bars, the beautifully stylish, elegant, and well choreographed Gadirova twins Jennifer and Jessica from Harrow on beam and floor, and yet another promising vaulter from Notts who also has big flying bars, Ramiyah Kofi.

Again, this is to name just a few. There was a lot more quality work, more  potential, and more stylish gymnasts, all very encouraging for the future.

Apparatus Finals 



Shanna-Kae Grant of Leeds took the vault title with 13.500. A straight Yurchenko for 13.300, and a full twisting Yurchenko for 13.700, both clean and well performed

Silver went to Sioned Thomas of Swansea with 13.125, she had the highest combined D score, and the highest individual score for her first vault, pike front half 13.750. Her first vault and higher overall difficulty gave her enough of a cushion to still take silver despite a fall on her second vault the piked front which gave her 12.500.

Bronze went to Notts Scarlett Williams with 13.050. Her lovely extended and almost stuck straight Yurchenko for 13.400, and a high, kicked out tuck Yurchenko for 12.70.

I am having some trouble getting Scarlett’s second vault to load on the post, but will keep trying!



Highest qualifier Paige Thomas of Neath Afan took the title with 12.700. Nice clean swing, and a good piked Jaeger. She was a little short on her casts, but the turns were nicely done, as was the shoot half, and finishing with a stuck double pike.

South Durham’s Mia Scott took silver, good Stalder to handstand, toe on, then shoot to high bar to open. Blind in to a high piked Jaeger, she was a little close on the recatch, but it was nice and flighty. Swing half and giant full, she was a little late, but finished  very strongly with her big full out dismount for 12.450.

Bronze to Notts Ramiyah Kofi with 12.100. She was down 0.8 in D score from the gold and silver medalists, as she is working just on the high bar for the moment, but was deservedly awarded the highest E score of the final. Big flighted Tkatchev with good counter rotation   to open, right in handstand on the cast, and again from the toe on, extended right through her shoulders each time. She was late on her giant full, but finished very well with a high, stuck double pike.



Halle Hilton continues to impress on beam, a very strong routine from her for 14.000 (13.700 without the 0.3 GB bonus for her three skill series that is available to Espoir gymnasts), and a confident, committed performance, clean and stylish throughout. She was far more solid and accurate today, over a year and a half out from the 2018 junior European Championships she will be aiming for, and you can’t help but wonder where this routine could be by then.

South Durham’s Leah Greenland took silver with 13.000. Light and sharp in the opening change leap to sissone, she was ever so slightly offline on her flick layout, but squeezed so hard to stop herself wobbling, again exactly what you want to see from these young gymnasts coming through, absolute determination to minimise any errors. Change half, and a free walkover then finishing with a double twist that absolutely popped off the beam and fully rotated well before coming into land. I would put money on this turning into the well rewarded triple twist well before she turns senior.

Annie Young of Norfolk Academy took the bronze with 12.650. Confident on the flick layout, lovely light, sharp change leap to sissone with good range. Solid standing tuck, then the full twist dismount which does need a little more pop off the end to really lift. Very elegant beam work from Annie, she has a flowing style, clean lines, and some nice choreographic touches.

A note about the Gadirova twins, as I mentioned in the results post, due to a technicality on the day, the girls had to compete as guests only in the final making them ineligible for medals. Very difficult for these young gymnasts, especially in this case for Jennifer who performed her sharp, stylish, intricate routine well enough to be awarded the second highest score of the day.



I’d love to be able to share Halle’s  floor, but unfortunately they’re not available yet. Members of British Gymnastics can view it on BG score, although not on GymNet, this might just be a small technical issue which will resolve it’s self, I will add it in if it does.

Isla took the title with 13.850, a big score for an Espoir gymnast. Isla only used 0.2 GB Espoir bonus in this routine, so under a junior code would have scored 13.650 placing her fifth at junior Europeans, which is hugely encouraging from this clean and elegant young gymnast. A beautifully presented to routine to Skyfall, Isla is graceful and fluid through  her classical style chorreography which suits her so well. Stuck double tuck to open, clean handspring full twisting straight front with a step, ring leap to change half dance passage with excellent flexibility. A beautiful change to ring leap, a clean Popa jump, and finished with a clean double twist. Really lovely work.


Halle Hilton scored 13.050, 0.05 higher than in the AA, she did struggle a little with her landings again today as she deals with her ankle and hamstring. Handspring full twisting straight front with a hop, then a big bounce out of the high double pike. She had to step to the side on the landing from the two and a half, but fought and saved it well, good change to ring linked to a butterfly to finish, and you get the feeling that Halle has some upgrades there ready to go for next year when she is fully fit again as landings aside everything looks very easy for her. Of course the same exceptional level of choreography and performance we have come to expect from her, there is not a moment in this routine where she is not fully committing to showing herself at her very best.
I’d love to be able to share Halle’s floor, but unfortunately they’re not available yet. Members of British Gymnastics can view it on BG score, although not on GymNet, this might just be a small technical issue which will resolve it’s self, I will add it in if it does.

Leah Greenland took the bronze with 13.200, she had one of the lowest D scores, but performed very well yet again to earn the second highest E score. Stuck double tuck to open, change ring through to change half, then high one and a half to punch front with a hop. Full turning split leap, and a high clean double twist to finish. A fun lively routine well projected with a big smile on her face, every time I see Leah she impresses me more and more, and I look forward to watching her progress.

Congratulations to all gymnasts and coaches taking part in the championships, I would like to have mentioned everyone, as there was something from every single gymnast worth mentioning, but this would have been an endless report!

3 thoughts on “Report And Video 2016 British Espoir Championships

    • Absolutely, some great gymnastics, and lots of potential.
      Both age groups span a two year period, Espoir gymnasts either turn twelve or thirteen in the year of competition, and Juniors either fourteen or fifteen.


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