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Heathrow Open International Club Championships
15th and 16th September 2007

This year’s Heathrow Open International Club Championships turned out to be Britain’s biggest ever aerobics competition, its phenomenal success a testament to the hard work of Gary and Natalia Jarvis, club coaches and competition organisers, as well as the strong team of parent helpers and friends of the club from the aerobics community.

FIG

Sunday is traditionally the “big” day; this year with the added pressure for GB squad members of knowing that the Heathrow Open was also the first of two qualifying events for representing GB at the European Championships in Hungary in November. The tension this brought was almost palpable and the day was certainly not without its tears and tribulations. The quality of work from our top aerobics gymnasts is constantly improving and this was very much in evidence at the event. We were also joined by clubs from Sweden, Germany, France and Belgium.

The top three females in the National Development (under 12) category ably demonstrated their potential, largely from outstanding execution, all scoring 16 or over which is a very creditable score even in the next age group up. Well done to Emily Boyce and Georgia Mackie, both Bulmershe, and Ella Augier, Pinewood, for their 1st 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The youngest international competitor to take part in the competition, Alexandra Grubert from ATV Eisenberg, Germany, came 11th. Matthew Saunders, Weston, took the male Nat-Dev title, but will need to work hard if he too wishes to break into the 16 scores like his female counterparts.

Group 1 (12-14) turned out to be a family battle, with Chloe Farrance beating younger sister Olivia to top slot. Chloe’s routine was outstanding, a real improvement from her disappointing performance at the Welsh: her fantastic execution score was only exceeded by the French senior male over the whole weekend. Olivia too had obviously tidied up her elements from the last competition and showed artistic flair must be in the genes. Heathrow’s own Sophie Lewis performed a technically competent routine, easily taking the bronze medal in the Open and gold in the Closed event. Shauni Vanfroyenhoven, from Blits 78 Bierbeek, Belgium, was the highest placed international competitor in this round in 11th. In the Heathrow Closed competition, Tyler Ansell beat Emily Keane, who sadly received a whole mark’s difficulty deduction

Seb deVerteuil, Bulmershe, was one to watch as always, but untypically lost execution on his helicopter, dropping into the mid 17’s. Afterwards he received useful praise and feedback from the French national coach – a real benefit of having international participation at this competition.

Chloe and Seb both won further medals with their partners, Heather Adams and Rosie Walsh, 1st and 2nd respectively, in the pairs competition, with Ellie Dash and Bethany Waddington, Waterside taking bronze. Heathrow’s Emily and Tyler came 5th. Not to be outdone, Olivia also won another gold, this time with Robyn Irvine and Hannah Owen in the trios, nearly a mark and a half clear of Weston in silver and Klas in third place. Heathrow’s Emily and Tyler came 5th.

Group 2 (15-17) was probably the closest fought category of the weekend in the end with less than a mark separating the top five places, and with some gymnasts expected to do well, not performing, the positions were wide open. Stacy Chance, Bulmershe, took the lead on highest difficulty, but best execution went to team-mate Chrystal Hayselden, who came in third. Ellie Spooner, Pinewood, produced her best routine of the season to edge into second. Sian Hill won the title in the Heathrow Closed, with Rosie Webster just 0.5 behind taking silver. Julia Ruecker of ATV Eisenberg had the honour of being the top scoring international competitor at this age but didn’t break into the 16’s scores.

The trio competition at this age group proved exciting. The Bulmershe trio, Jodie and Madeleine Gale and Leanne Crook, performed a good routine; then the Heathrow trio of Rosie Webster, Sian Hill and Sophie Lewis went out on the floor – competing together for the first time, it was uncertain how they’d do but they exuded fun. Weston/Suki’s Katherine Saunders, Katrina Rose and Natalie Porter, performed next - another good routine with very clean execution. But the outburst of excitement from the Heathrow girls told it all – scoring 17.7, theirs was the highest pair/trio/group score of the weekend! Sadly this trio is ineligible for European qualification as Sophie is actually from the age group below.

The senior females’ category was another tense round – it was all change at the top. Stephanie Fois, Heathrow, produced the routine of her life, taking the lead for the first time with 18.2. Team-mate Christina Fossheim wasn’t quite as polished as normal, but with 17.9 still performed well. Of the three Katies, who normally vie for medals in the seniors, it was Katy Barley, Martine’s Action Pack, who took the bronze. Ann Therese Johansson, from Ale Aerobic and Dansstudio, Sweden, put up a good fight for the international female seniors coming 6th.

The highlight of the weekend was very definitely the performance from Jacquemin Morgan, from the French National Squad. He had the whole audience on its feet clapping and cheering to what was probably the highest scoring routine ever performed on British soil! Scoring several 9’s for artistry and execution, his routine was dynamic and electric; and jumping high off the ground, he made it all look effortless!

NAC

This section of the competition always draws the biggest crowd with parents, grandparents and all the family there to watch – Bracknell Leisure Centre was at full capacity!

The National Development and Group 1 individual female categories were the largest of the weekend with 30 competitors each.

In Nat Dev, Lauren King, Pinewood, took the lead. Chloe Byne was Heathrow’s lead gymnast, in the Open competition she was placed 11th, only one mark off the winner, winning gold in the Closed event. Helen Turner was just 0.05 behind again to take the silver in the Closed competition. Rhian Thomas and Hayley Keattch tied score, but Rhian took 3rd in the Closed on execution. Hiba Omer had a disappointing competition but hadn’t been well, so will be working hard towards the British.

Charlotte Payne and Rosie Stevens, Bulmershe, took the gold and silver medals in the Group 1 NAC round with Isadora Wainwright, taking both the Open bronze and the Closed gold medal. For Isadora, competing for the first time in aerobics, 3rd place in the open competition shows promise for the future. Ella de Cruz from Heathrow has shown consistent improvement over the season moving up to 7th place in the open (Closed – silver); Siana Williams took the Closed bronze medal by a narrow margin from team-mate Emma Bevan.

Siana, Ella and Emma also performed a trio routine, coming in behind the Bulmershe trio of Charlotte, Rosie and Jessica Walters. Pair and trio medals in the other categories were shared between Weston, Martine’s Action Pack, Waterside, Bulmershe and Southport.

Jake Jefcut and Andrew Galpin, team-mates from Bulmershe, were the male medal winners in the Nat Dev and Group 1 categories respectively.

At Group 2, Pinewood again proved victorious: Amy Woods scoring higher with a more technically difficult routine than the others. Laila Ladak of Gillingham won the senior competition by a wide margin, again through the difficulty of the elements performed. There were no senior men at NAC, but Daniel Wakerley, Bulmershe, executed his routine well to take the lead in Group 2 individual men.

RAC

Despite its increasing size, the club has maintained the competition’s unique inclusion of the recreational category – for many coaches, it’s what makes the event so special: an opportunity for the newest to the sport to experience performing in front of a full judging panel and a huge audience.

Although the majority of the 42 routines were performed by gymnasts from Bulmershe club, the gold medals in this section were equally shared, with Weston, Waterside and Southport also staking their claims.

Immensely enjoyed by all, this competition goes from strength to strength, and its international reputation is growing, proving how valuable club networking is in the sport’s development around the world.

Report by Val Lewis

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