The weekly feature for those that don’t follow all of the social media accounts attached to the blog, or have missed the odd post. A look at the goings on over the last week in British WAG.
Well, the this is the week that the implications of the COVID-19 Corona Virus really began to hit gymnastics hard.
The Doha Apparatus World Cup due to be held 18th-21-st of March has been postponed, with the planned rescheduling due to take place 3rd-6th of June. Saphire’s Ondine Achampong and Greenwhich Royals’ Halle Hilton were due to attend, where Halle would have made her senior debut.
The Stuttgart AA World Cup due to be held Sunday 22nd of March has been cancelled. Dynamo’s Kelly Simm was originally listed to compete, then Aylesbury’s Jennifer Gadirova. As this is listed as a cancellation, there are no alternative dates suggested at this point.
The Baku Apparatus World Cup got under way, with South Essex’s Georgia-Mae Fenton, and Sapphire’s Ondine Achampong taking part. Qualifications were completed, with Ondine once again making beam and floor finals, however, shortly after the conclusion of qualification, the government of Azerbaijan suspended all sporting events in light of the rise in their Cornoa cases, and that was the end of the competition. There has been no news as yet as to whether it will be rescheduled.
At posting this Sunday, the two remaining World Cup events, both AA competitions have not been cancelled. These are the Birmingham AA World Cup due to be held on the 28th of March, and the Tokyo AA World Cup due to be held on the 4th of April. Sadly it is looking increasingly likely that we may see a change in status to these remaining events.
There is also the European Championships 30th April-03rd May to be held in Paris. At present not cancelled, but events to be held in the arena have been. The French government had introduced a ban on gatherings of 1000 people of more, due to run until the 15th of April, giving the possibility that by the end of the month the Championships could go ahead, two days ago they lowered that that number to 100, with no predicted date to lift the ban as yet.
At posting, the Welsh Open and European Trial (28th March), Scottish Championships (28th March), English Championships (3rd-5th April), and British Championships (16th-19th) April are all due to go ahead.
We do however go into a new week tomorrow, and there is much speculation that a nationwide cancellation of sporting events and public gatherings will take place as restrictions begin to come in. As devastating as this will be to the gymnasts who have worked so hard for these competitions, the sooner we can gain some control over the spread and infection rate of the virus, the sooner things can return to normal. It may not be hitting the young and the healthy so hard, but the potential to become an unknowing carrier and spreading to those who’s bodies are not equipped to withstand the attack of COVID-19 on their system only rises with higher the numbers of people gathered in one spot.
Personally I am expecting that will will see changes to at least some of these events imminently, we can only wait for statements and announcements.
I update the social media accounts daily, often several times daily as announcements are made, so please join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter should you wish to receive the latest status of events.
Both the World AA Cups, of which only one has been held so far, and the Apparatus World Cups are of course Individual Olympic qualifying events, as are the European Championships. The World Cup events are based on cumulative points, and the Europeans on the top two AA in qualifications (who are not already expempt due to participation in qualifying their team to the Olympics from World Championships.)
At posting, there is yet to be a statement from the FIG on how they are going to approach the allocation of individual Olympic spots now that some, and potentially all of the remaining events won’t go ahead as planned. Head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach is due to meet with international federations (I assume this includes the FIG) on Tuesday to discuss qualification strategy for those sports with cancelled events.
At this point the Toyko organising committee are adamant that the games will go ahead on time, but that they will adhere to the ongoing advice of the World Health Authority.
Gymnastics is our most beautiful of sports that demands the best of character, perseverance, and determination. Whatever is to come, we shall unquestionably at some point emerge through to the other side, soaring ‘Higher, faster, stronger’ once more.
Lets finish with some more positive news:
The GB Foundation Squad lined up at Lilleshall. These are 2009/2010 born gymnasts currently level 3 and 2 who are hoping that one day they will be vying for senior international selection themselves.
Ellie Downie who is due to compete at the Birmingham World Cup should it go ahead showed that her already considerably upgraded beam routine is upgraded even further by the return of her Double Arabian dismount. Using the roundoff entry, she has been using the D rated two and a half twist for 0.4. The double Arabian is a G, so worth 0.6, with an extra 0.2 for the B+G connection. One incredibly difficult skill, double the dismount value.