Once again we saw the city of Birmingham and Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre play host to this the eighth British Sports Aerobics Championships. This year saw the competition move up another level with the championships taking place over three days to accommodate the amount of athletes taking part (260 competitors performing over 200 routines), the attendance of athletes from two other European countries and a new level of technical wizardry backstage. All this contributed to make it the biggest and best British championships to date.

This year also saw the introduction of qualifying rounds for the u18 and senior FIG sections. This meant that athletes had to perform their routines over two days, in keeping with the format of other international competitions and world events.

So how did Heathrow do?

This year we won three British titles overall and many other medals across all the age groups. The results are:

Female Individual u10-FIG code.

Here many of Heathrow’s athletes that competed in this category last year have moved up to the u12’s so it was left to newcomer Jenna Nola to carry on the Heathrow tradition of gold in this category. (We have had the British Champion in this category for the past two years) Even though this was only Jenna’s second ever Sports Aerobics competition she performed brilliantly scoring 10.85 taking the gold medal and of course the British title.

Female Individual u12-NAC code

Here Elizabeth Taylor represented the club in the National Aerobic Code. She performed a good routine in this her first ever aerobics competition scoring 11.50 coming 6th overall.

Female Individual u12-FIG code.

This section is currently one of the hardest to compete in with a lot of very good athletes from different clubs taking part. Most of the Heathrow athletes have recently moved up from the u10 section so will have several years to compete in this category. Two Heathrow athletes tied for the Bronze medal with a score of 11.30. Unfortunately in Sports Aerobics there are no ties and the athlete with the better artistic score is placed higher.

Vicky Chagger (2000 u10 champion) with her new routine scored 4.95 to Rachel Murphy’s 4.85 so she just edged past Rachel in fourth place for a well deserved bronze medal. Well-done Vicky!

Also in this category for Heathrow were Michelle Faircloth, who recently won the Welsh open) in 6th with 10.75, Rosie Webster in 8th with 9.55, Kirsty Banfield in 10th with 9.00 and Kerry Dixon in 11th with 8.80.

Male Individual u12-FIG code

Once again Joseph Denton proved he is the best in Britain taking his third consecutive British title. Joseph’s routine is packed with difficulty and he always performs with maximum energy and style. Here he scored 10.40.

Pairs u12-FIG code

Here Rosie Webster and Michelle Faircloth teamed up for the first time to compete as a pair. They scored 8.50 to take a well-deserved silver medal.

Female Individual u14-FIG code

Here Heathrow’s Sarah Yusufu a former u12 British champion and u14 silver medallist, was strongly tipped to take gold. Sarah performed a good routine but a small mistake cost her the title as she scored 12.71 to the winners 12.75 and had to settle for the silver. Christine Adams came in fourth just missing the medals with 12.20 closely followed by Chelsey Dixon in 6th with 11.90. This is another tough age group with many Heathrow athletes fighting for medals with the other clubs. Meghan Davies took 8th place with 11.45 with Jacqui Bamforth 11th (10.70) and Sarah Muggeridge 12th (10.55). This was both Sarah and Jacqui’s first British at FIG level.

Female Individual u16-FIG code

In this category Heathrow had two athletes. Lauren Barton (who was the 2000 u14 bronze medallist) had the unenviable task of competing against her former pairs partner who had recently moved to a different club. Lauren has just returned from Internationals in France and Germany where she came a creditable 5th and 4th in strong fields of international juniors from many European countries including Russia. Lauren performed one of her best routines to date to score 13.90 and take the silver medal. A very good score considering the judging was to world championships levels. Alison Thatcher competing in her first British performed a solid routine earning her 9.75 and 14th place.

Now to the first of the qualifying age groups. Here all the athletes competed on the Saturday and the top eight athletes go through to the finals on the Sunday. First up.

Female Individual u18-FIG code:

Here four athletes represented Heathrow and they all made it through to the finals on Sunday. The qualifying scores and positions were:

Katie Cannon in first with 13.80, Ria Cousins in third with 12.50, Charlotte Murray sixth with 11.35 and Laura Hayter 8th with 10.00.

So to Sunday and the medals. Katie Cannon performed an identical routine to qualifying but scored only 13.50. She was just pipped to the gold medal with the top athlete scoring 13.55 and had to settle for silver. Katie has only just started competing in Sports Aerobics having just given up Artistic Gymnastics. She has already won the Welsh Championships and collected a trio bronze medal in the recent Berlin Invitational event. Not bad for someone who has only been doing the sport a matter of months. Ria scored 13.00 improving on her previous days score but just missing the bronze medal to take fourth place overall. Charlotte also improved her score by over one mark from the previous day getting 12.60 and moving herself up from 6th to 5th place overall. Laura scored 11.35, 1.35 marks better than qualifying to maintain 8th position. This is the group of athletes who will be looking to become senior athletes in the next two years and who will most likely form the basis of future senior national teams, so Heathrow have a good group of athletes who hopefully will be gaining places in those future British squads.

Female Individual 17 yrs-FIG code

Joanna Griffin is one of the clubs hardest working athletes and over the last few years has greatly improved her fitness and overall performance. She recently represented Great Britain in the French Open and also Heathrow at the Berlin Invitational. In the qualifying she performed an excellent routine scoring 12.65 and qualifying for the final in first place. Unfortunately the next day the tables were turned and a small mistake on one move cost her the gold. She scored 12.70 to the winners 12.75 and had to be content with the silver medal. Next year Joanna will be moving up to the senior ranks where she will be looking for a place on the senior national team.

Trio u18-FIG code

Here Katie Cannon, Charlotte Murray and Ria Cousins joined forces to compete as a trio. The girls have only been working together a matter of months but already have an international medal under their belts. The weekend before the British they took part in an international invitational competition in Berlin. This competition was they’re first performing together as a trio and they came away with the bronze medal. They showed in Birmingham that they were a class apart from the rest of the field qualifying with 13.21 and then improving there score in the finals to 13.74 with there second placed rivals on 9.59. Well done to our trio British Champions.

Female Individual senior-FIG code

Kelly Snape is used to working with two other athletes beside her as she forms part of the current British no 1 trio who have competed at the past two World Championships. Unfortunately one of the trio is injured and they were unable to compete at these championships so Kelly decide to brave the spotlight on her own. Competing for the first time ever as a female individual Kelly scored 13.05 to qualify in fourth place overall and as second placed British competitor for the finals. The finals were of a high standard with entries from Finland and France. In the finals Kelly performed a good routine scoring 12.70 just slightly down on her qualification score to maintain her second position and come away as runner up in the British Championships. Pretty good for her first attempt at the single life!

All Heathrow athletes are coached by Gary Jarvis and Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis assisted by Sandy Chagger, Victoria Ford, Sarah Needham, Jackie Murphy (Judging) and Joanne Stevens.

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