Report, Results, Video: Varna World Challenge Cup

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First of the Autumn World Cups, saw Kelly Simm and Georgia-Mae Fenton head to Varna Bulgaria. Georgia competed on bars, beam and floor, Kelly just on bars. For Georgia her first senior international, for Kelly her first competition in just under a year after a tough time with injury.

Qualification was held on Friday, Georgia placed third, and Kelly fourth on bars, easily taking themselves through to the final. Both gymnasts counted a fall,  so were capable and hopeful of claiming a podium spot, and taking home a medal.

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Eyes on another competitior during bars qualifications

Georgia also qualified for both beam and floor finals in 7th and 6th spot respectively.

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Georgia poised and ready in floor qualifications

Finals took place over the weekend, firstly with both gymnasts contesting the bars final on Saturday. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be the on the day, trouble for both meant they finished in 6th and 7th place.

I always share video when it’s available, and that means sharing routines that don’t go as well, as well as those that do. I do this to present both sides of gymnastics, the highs and lows that come to every gymnast of every level, that elites are not immune from either. There are always positives to take from every routine, and there is always inspiration for those coming up to see that far from being infallible athletes, elites are just like them, rough days and great days, it’s about how you handle them that determines how close to fulfilling your potential you can get.
Case in point, my six year old niece was with me yesterday, she has spent a month working very hard on her bridge, so yesterday she wanted to try a back walkover. After managing to get it on her own, and doing five, she fell on her head on the sixth and there were the start of tears of frustration as she’d wanted to do six in a row. We took a break, and I showed her Kelly’s routine, told her this was one of the best gymnasts in Great Britain, and told her a little about she had been injured, and that this was her first competition in nearly a year. She saw Kelly fall, saw her get up and  carry on, and declared her an amazing gymnast who was really brave. She then decided she wanted to do another walkover. Kelly didn’t have the day she wanted, but she inspired at least one little girl yesterday, I suspect one of many.

So lets have a look at the bars final.

Kelly counted two falls and an empty swing, she described herself as ‘Absolutely gutted’ and I get that. She’s a professional athlete, she sets high standards for herself, she has worked incredibly hard to come back from injury, it was her first competition since October 2016, and no, of course it didn’t go as she wanted. There were positives though, although they didn’t come off on the day, Kelly has added two new skills to this routine, the Endo half, will link straight to the toe full, and the uprise to Hindorf from the Maloney transition was also new in. For me what was most noticeable was how much work she has clearly put in to cleaning up her execution. Kelly often incurred leg separation deductions on her transitions and dismount, here I saw a much cleaner Maloney, Pak, and double straight, there was just a comparatively small and very quick separation on the Stalder Shap transition.
With a Bhardwaj in the works, and either a piked Tkatchev or her own inbar
to piked Tkactchev to come in for the Ricna, to go with her improved execution, this is a big routine in the making.
A work in progress can bring a few bruises as there are nearly always bumps along the way. Kelly is tough, she’ll bounce back and be back.


There was disappointment here for Georgia too, and I also felt disappointment as I read a few keyboard experts (just a few amid the mass support, but a few is a few too many) declare that she is unable to hit her bar routine in competition. Oh really? While you’re deciding to publicly condemn a 16 year old, Have a look at her hit British Championship routines two days in a row when she last competed, and more importantly then think about how well you’d compete on bars, you know, that  piece where you use your hands, three weeks after finger surgery. Why assume you know why a gymnast may not be at their best, when you have no idea what may or may not have been going on with them? Georgia is building for Worlds, if it was two months away she likely wouldn’t have been out competing yet at all

Georgia’s normal routine is from a 5.9D, today she was awarded a 5.0, but I believe went for a 5.1, and accidentally did a 5.2. Although its hard to tell from the video, it looks as though she may have lost her 0.2 in connection as she hit her feet on the mat after her Ricna half to Ezhova meaning that she didn’t successfully complete the connection therefore voiding the bonus.

For those not familiar with her usual routine, she took out her second bar change which is the shoot half linked to the Ricna for connection bonus, no Stalder shoot back to high bar, and a double tuck as opposed to a full out. The accidental 5.2 was from doing a giant one and a half as opposed to giant full she planned, but she did have to count an empty swing from it. So not Georgia at full strength at all on this piece, but that’s yet…….


On to beam, and what a class act Georgia looked. She has changed her routine around a little since the British when we last saw her, taking out the change half, but adding in the change to full spin with the leg held up, which looked beautiful with her long lines and great extension. Everything on the beam was lovely, flowing work, sharp choreography, confident performance level, a small wobble on the double spin the only real error. She did have one of those moments that probably made her go arrghhh; right at the beginning, she jumped to split for her mount, didn’t quite get her back leg on the beam, and it came back to the board, therefore counting a fall and a whole mark off. Nevertheless, the rest of her work was good enough to see her awarded the sliver medal, a great result for her first World Cup and first senior international.

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Finally onto floor, and a lovely routine to finish her competition. The same tumbles as the British, interestingly she swapped the two and a half, and the straight front to double twist second and third passes round, perhaps feeling as though they worked better that way stamina wise. Again very clean work, poised, elegant and classy as ever. Just the difficulty keeping her from the podium at present, but she has shown a whip to triple twist and a double front in training, so is clearly heading for a higher D score next year.



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