It occurred to me that not everyone in the entire world chooses to have social media accounts, so for my subscribers who remain Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter free, some sad news from the GB camp today.
When major championships approach, the gymnasts are very diplomatic, talk of hoping to be selected, but that nothing is set in stone. It shows modesty, an admirable trait, but putting it aside for a moment, I think we can safely say that as British and European AA champion, Ellie Downie was a guaranteed selection.
The World Championships are set to be held in Montreal Canada from the 2nd to the 8th of October, the selection period is underway, a closed trial will take place later this month, and another trial within the Adrain Stan team Championships on the 16th of September. Ellie will take no further part in the selection period, she has had surgery on her ankle to take care of the injury she sustained at the British Championships back in March. In her own words:
‘So yesterday i had surgery on my left ankle to recover an injury I gained at the British Champs this year, we worked through it for Europeans because I had worked too hard not to show off my work I’d been preparing for so many months, and I would not change that decision I made for the world. Unfortunately this does mean I will not compete at the World Champs in Canada this year, but my eyes are now set on getting ready and fit for Commonwealth Games next year, and I’m very excited to be on the road to recovery, and get fit again.’
An enormous disappointment for Ellie, especially when she was absolutely flying this year. One of a very small group of gymnasts with a genuine shot at the world AA title, I know many people were eagerly anticipating her performances on the world stage. Ellie came roaring into this new quad like a true British lion, big new skills, more on the way, more power, more confidence, more attack. She went into the European AA as leader and favourite, a new experience for her, and she did what she needed to do, hold her nerve, refuse major error, and fight for the title.
So it’s not to be on the world stage……yet. we are right at the beginning of the 2017-2020 quad, the road with many markers on it leads all the way through to Tokyo. There is the Commonwealth Games next year where Ellie will aim to take team England to the title in her first attempt, and to claim the AA title. There is the first world team championships of the quad, the first step to Tokyo qualification. In 2019, again the world team championships where the British team if not already qualified will seek to cement their Olympic place. There are European team and individual titles, individual world titles, British titles all to fight for, a plan to have in place to progress and peak for this time in three years when Ellie will hope to take to the floor of the Olympic arena the strongest she has ever been, with the biggest difficulty she has ever had, and the most confidence in her work and abilities.
The bigger picture is what matters, and the bigger picture is the next three years when a 21 year old Ellie will hope to be at her AA peak. It would be foolish to push through the intense training period between now and world championships risking longer term damage. Some injuries if left never quite heal, you never quite get the stability back in that area, never 100% trust the injury point, and you have to work round it, diluting your full capabilities. I know like all of you I shall miss seeing Ellie out there when the competition begins in Montreal, but I look forward to her fiercely leading the British team through the quad more.
Ellie Downie has entered two AA competitions in 2017, and she is British AA champion, and the first ever British AA European Champion, we shall see her back in 2018, and I have no doubt she will be making history once more.
Heal fast Ellie, but most importantly heal fully.