Heathrow Open International
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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