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3rd Heathrow Open International Club Championships
5th 6th & 7th September 2008

Heathrow Aerobics Open International

A stunning display by Ivan Parejo, the senior male World Aerobics Champion, brought the 3rd Heathrow Aerobics Open International competition to a rapturous close at the beginning of September. The Spanish athlete received a standing ovation from the audience for his performance, demonstrating the superb athleticism and artistic flair, which won him the champions' title in April at the World Championships in Germany. In Bracknell for this club event with his own team of hopefuls, modest Parejo was surprised by the ensuing demand for autographs from his young fans!

It was a fitting end to a fantastic weekend hosted by the Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club. Essentially a club championship with closed as well as the open categories, the competition has gone from strength to strength since it first opened its doors to international teams three years ago. This year's event was the biggest aerobics competition ever held in Great Britain, spanning the RAC, NAC and FIG categories - a staggering 316 routines over the three days, with entries from Sweden, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany and Spain as well as from 12 British clubs.

In the senior IW FIG category, it was Heathrow's own Christina Fossheim, the current British Champion, who stunned the audience, performing a routine of high difficulty with excellent technical execution and grace and energy to achieve 19.650, the highest score of the competition and a whole mark and a half ahead of her nearest rival. Gary Jarvis, Head Coach at Heathrow, was seen to breathe a sigh of relief when Fossheim executed her Moldovan cleanly and then broke into a huge smile as her score was revealed.

Emily Gale, Bulmershe, and Natalie Porter, Suki, both reached the elusive 18 mark to come second and third respectively. Lena Bartschies of TK Hannover was the highest placed international competitor in seventh place. In the senior trios, Bulmershe took the title with Jaime Carter of Pinewood taking the men's gold.

In FIG Group 2 (15-17) IW it was the Czech competitor Monika Gerzova who led the way with the highest difficulty and beautiful artistic presentation. Her score of 18.800 proved impossible to beat, but Bulmershe's Chrystal Hayselden and Chloe Farrance both performed outstanding routines coming second and third. Just missing out on an open medal in fourth place, Sophie Lewis, Heathrow's top placed athlete in this category with 17.800, took the closed gold medal. In the men's Group 2, Sebastian De Verteuil demonstrated he has the World Champion's title in his sights for himself in the future - like Parejo, he too had the whole audience involved in his routine with his enthusiasm and sparkle - his winning score of 19.000 was well deserved. The pairs competition was won by Julia Ruecker and Lisa John of ATV, Eisenberg, Germany. The Heathrow trio of Sophie Lewis, Sian Hill and Rosie Webster looked very relaxed as they stepped onto the floor for their routine, which they performed with obvious enjoyment and neat execution. To Heathrow's great delight the girls excelled winning the category with a score of 17.600, beating the trio from the Czech Republic by a large margin of 0.65; a mark and a half ahead of the bronze medallists from Weston.

The biggest FIG category of the day was the Group 1 (12-14) females with 30 competitors. The Czechs were back on top here taking both the Gold and Silver medals, Marketa Vitkova scored 17.500 and Nikol Zamorska 17.200, as well as 4th and 5th place. Ella Augier from Pinewood was the only Briton up to this international challenge, equalling the score of the silver medallist she was edged into third on execution. Isadora Wainwright was the Heathrow closed gold medallist with 16.450. Connor Clancy, Bulmershe, was FIG Group 1 male winner and Emma Deakins and Jessica Taylor took the pairs title for Weston. With trio partners Julie Ondova and Simona Rudolfova, from the Aerobic Sport Centrum in Zin, Vitkova won her second gold of the day on execution, scoring the same as silver medallists Olivia Farrance, Hannah Owen and Robyn Irvine from Bulmershe. Heathrow's trio came in 6th. The six team category in this age group was won by the national squad amalgam made up of athletes from Bulmershe, Waterside and Martine's Action Pack. Heathrow's group came second.

In the youngest category, National Development (under 12), Rebekah Galpin from Bulmershe excelled herself beating Tereza Pekarkova and Klara Kubecova from the Czech Republic into second and third place. All three had the same difficulty - the Czech's once again demonstrated their flexibility and execution skills but it was her artistic talent which won Galpin the gold with 16.350. In trio however the tables were turned as Pekarkova and Kubecova teamed with Martina Nedbalkova to take gold; Galpin, Laura Shuttleworth and Sophie Goves from Bulmershe had to settle for second. Heathrow's youngest trio came 5th. Matthew Saunders, Weston,
took the mens' gold with 15.650 and the pairs gold with partner Abigail Butterfield scoring 15.800.

With judges from the competing nations as well as guests from China and Belarus it was a truly international event and demonstrated the strength of friendship Heathrow has now earned abroad. It was rewarding to see British competitors rising to the standard of the Czechs in particular and triumphing on occasions! And none will forget Parejo's demonstration of pure aerobic talent. Next year's event is already booked for the 4th, 5th & 6th September 09.

Natalia Ilienko Jarvis and Gary Jarvis would like to thank all the Judges, Gymnasts, Coaches, Volunteers and parents without whom the event would not take place.

Report By Val Lewis.



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