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6 - 9 October 2006

Fenton Manor Sports and Leisure Centre once again played host to one of the biggest Aerobic Gymnastics events of the year.

Competitors from 14 different clubs around the country entered this year’s event. More than 230 routines were performed during the weekend in front of a very energetic and supportive crowd. The event was visited by many VIPs: Mr. John Atkinson - The President of the FIG Aerobic Gymnastics Technical Committee, Mr. Bunny Warren Deputy President of British Gymnastics, and Mr. Wayne Smith Aerobic Gymnastics Programme Coordinator along with a Television Crew that followed some of the competitors during the competition. This put more pressure on the competitors to deliver their best performances.

Heathrow's coaches for the weekend were Gary Jarvis and Ria Cousins.Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis had given up her role as one of the personal coaches to officiate as the Chair of the Judges Panel.

Saturday 7th October 2006 NAC Cup

First on the competition floor were competitors from the Foundation Level, gymnasts who reach 9 years old in the year of the competition.Heathrow did not have any gymnasts in this age group. However 11 girls performed in this category as individuals in a very close competition.Next were competitors from the National Development Level. These gymnasts must be 10-11 years of age in the year of the competition.There were 25 competitors in this level. Tyler Ansel and Siana Williams, competing for the first time in the British Championships, represented Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics in this category. Only one year ago these girls were still competing in the recreational aerobics competition and now the club was relying on them to carry the Heathrow Flag. The girls made us proud. Tyler Ansel received her first ever bronze medal at NAC Cup competition with a score of 14.65 and Siana Williams took 9th position with 14.15.

After the National Development level the stage was taken by the Group 1 gymnasts. This was a very large category with 28 Individual Women competing. Heathrow had two girls representing the club at this level, Emily Keane and Ella De Cruz. Emily competed in the British NAC Cup competition last year and has more experience than Ella. For Ella this was her very first British NAC Cup competition. Only last year Ella was still competing in the recreational aerobics competition. Both girls did a fantastic job and managed to cope with the pressure very well. Emily scored 7 difficulty elements out of 8 in her routine and had the highest artistic score in her age group, scoring 14.7 in total. Emily was presented with the Silver medal. Ella De Cruz performed a very nice routine with a total score of 13.8, achieving a respectable 10th place.

Gary Jarvis commented: “The competition in the British NAC Cup is getting fiercer every year. We are very proud of the girls who competed for us in the NAC Cup this year. The competition showed just how much the girls have improved in the last 12 months and also highlighted some points that we will have to work on in order to achieve even better results next time. “

After the NAC Competition had finished and the medals had been presented, it was time for the FIG competitors to move into the spotlight with the qualification rounds for the Sunday Finals. The competition in the FIG categories is always very strong and very exciting. Everyone was trying to impress the judges knowing there are only 8 places in each of the final.

In Group 1 (12-14) there were 23 entries in the competition this year. Out of these gymnasts 10 are National Squad members, which made the Qualification Round even more fierce. In this category Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics was represented by Sophie Lewis and Natalie Green. Both girls worked very hard prior to the competition on many aspects of their routines and were really looking forward to it. First up was Sophie. She performed a very solid routine with a lot of charisma and showmanship that allowed her to qualify for the final with the score of 16.5, in 5th position.

Then it was Natalie’s turn to show the judges her new routine and she was determined to do her best. Natalie presented a very exciting routine. Natalie and Sophie shared the highest difficulty score of 1.350 in this category with two other gymnasts! Natalie also obtained the 3rd highest score in artistic with her energetic performance, receiving a total score of 16.350 .However the same total score had been achieved by two more gymnasts which left the placings to be decided by the execution scores. Unfortunately Natalie had to settle for 9th place, narrowly missing a place in the final.

Later in the day the competition continued with the Qualifying Round for gymnasts in Group 2 (15-17). 16 competitors from 9 different clubs had entered this category. 10 of the gymnasts are National Squad Members, so it was promising to be a very tough competition. Heathrow had 5 gymnasts representing the club in this age group: Siana Shipley, Jacqui Bamforth, Kirsty Banfield, Rosie Webster and Sian Hill. Siana, Jacqui and Kirsty were very well prepared for a highly competitive competition, being National Squad Members and having competed at several International Competition abroad and in this country.

However, it was Rosie and Sian’s first year in 15-17 age group and it was Sian’s first year in the FIG Competition. Last year Sian was competing in NAC Group 1 (12-14) Competition and was an NAC Cup winner. All of the girls worked very hard perfecting their routines prior to the British Championships and now were hoping to make the top 8 for the Sunday Final. First on the stage from Heathrow was Kirsty Banfield. She presented a very respectable routine artistically but made mistakes in the ‘supports family’ that affected her score on execution and difficulty. A deduction of 0.5 from the difficulty judges for a missing family which set her back to the 13th place and Kirstys score of 15.150 was not enough to make the final.

Next up was Rosie Webster. She performed a very well executed routine with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Rosie received a difficulty score of 2.050 which was the second highest difficulty score in this age group and scored 16.9 in total, qualifying for the final in 5th position. This was a fantastic result for Rosie. Later on it was Siana Shipley who took the stage by storm. She was not going to take any chances! She looked very confident and focused. Siana presented a very energetic routine with very good showmanship .She received 8.05 in artistic and second highest execution score of 7.7 .But it was the total score of 17.6 that allowed her to qualify in 2nd place! What a performance! It was an excellent result for Siana. There were still two more gymnasts from Heathrow waiting to go. Next was Jacqui Bamforth. She performed a very well controlled routine with the 3rd highest artistic score, 8.05 (the same as Siana Shipley) and the 3rd highest execution score, 7.55. Jacqui received a total score of 17.3 and qualified 4th for the final. The final competitor from Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics was Sian Hill. The pressure was mounting. Sian presented a good routine, scoring 7.7 on artistic but there were a few execution errors that did not allow Sian to reach a high enough score to gain a place in the final. Sian qualified 11th with a total score of 16.1. Considering how strong this category is and that there were 8 National Squad members in the top ten places, finishing 11th was not a bad start for Sian and was a very good experience. At the end of the qualification round the results were displayed and Heathrow Aerobics club had 3 gymnasts out of 5 in the Sunday final. Shiana Shipley, Jacquie Bamforth and Rosie Webster would be representing Heathrow in the Finals.

Later in the day it was the qualification round for seniors.Heathrow was represented in this category by the very experienced Katie Cannon and Christina Fossheim’s for whom it was her first ever British Championships in Aerobic Gymnastics. Both girls worked really hard for this event and were looking forward to the competition. All of the competitors in this category except Christina are National Squad members. Christina was competing first. She presented a very elegant routine. It is hard not to notice Christina’s gymnastics background, with beautiful legs extension and clear lines. Christina tried really hard to impress the judges. She scored 7.6 on artistic but only 6.8 on execution. Having an injury on her wrist was making her efforts more difficult.Christina made some mistakes in the difficulty elements which resulted in a low score on execution and difficulty, scoring 15.750 in total and obtaining 4thplace. She would have to do much better tomorrow in the fight for the medals. Next was Katie Cannon, a very well known name in British Aerobic Gymnastics. Katie is a well established competitor with lots of experience. She has competed for Great Britain at two European Championships and two World Championships. She was British Senior Individual Champion in 2003 and 2004.Katie was second in 2005 and this year she was even more determent to regain the title. Katie performed a very strong routine with lots of confidence and received a total score of 17.9. That was good enough to qualify 1st for the final.


Finals are always full of a lot of excitement and pressure. You could almost feel the tension in the air. The strongest competitors in each of the age groups are preparing for the most important day of the competition year. After the qualification rounds on Saturday Heathrow had 6 Gymnasts competing in the Finals.

Group 1 (12-14) was competing first. Heathrow Aerobic Team and supporters were waiting with anticipation for the appearance of their only gymnast in this category, Sophie Lewis. Sophie finally took the stage. Waiting time was over and now it was all in Sophie’s hands to make every little detail in her routine perfect. Sophie needed to improve on her execution and difficulty score if she was to be amongst the medals. She was in control. Sophie presented a clean and well finished routine with a much better execution score than yesterday, receiving 7.55. She had also improved on her difficulty score, receiving the highest difficulty score of 1.4 out of 8 finalists. Scoring 16.7 in total Sophie Lewis had moved up from 5th into a well deserved Bronze medalist’s position! A brilliant performance from Sophie Lewis.

After a little break it was time for the Group 2 (15-17) to join the fight for the medals. Rosie Webster took the stage with confidence. She was determined to prove that she was good enough to compete in the finals. She performed a very exciting routine, improving on her artistic score with 7.850 but a slightly lower difficulty score than yesterday. Her total score was 16.85, earning her 7th place.
After Rosie it was Siana Shipley. She competed with a very strong routine and excellent showmanship scoring 8.00 on artistic, but unfortunately she made an execution error by touching the floor with her foot in one of the compulsory elements - disappointing mistake for Siana. Now this was going to affect her difficulty and execution score and would not allow her to be in the medals position. Siana scored 16.85 in total. She took 6th place.

Now it was Jacqui Bamforth’s turn to impress the judges and she definitely made Heathrow proud. Jacqui presented a fantastic routine with a lot of precision and charisma, sharing the highest artistic score of 8.0 with Siana Shipley. She also improved on her execution score, scoring 7.6. Jacqui also received a better score on difficulty of 1.95. The total score was 17.55 and allowed Jacquie to move up from 4th position into 3rd. It was definitely good enough for bronze medal! The results in this category were very close. The difference between 1st place and 2nd place was only 0.1. And the difference between 3rd and 2nd was only 0.05 less than 0.1. A fantastic result for Jacqui Bamforth.

Finally it was the seniors that took the stage to compete for the 2006 Senior Individual Woman title. Christina Fossheim was first on the stage. Still suffering from her injury, Christina was determined to improve on her result in the qualification round. She managed a much better routine scoring higher in artistic, execution and difficulty. Her total score was 16.35 and she just narrowly missed out by 0.1 on the bronze medal.

Katie Cannon competed straight after Christina. She performed a much better routine than in the qualification round. She scored 2.5 on her difficulty and had highest scores in artistic and execution. Katie’s final score was 18.05, which was 1.050 marks higher than 2nd place. The score was good enough for Katie Cannon to be crowned The Senior British Champion for the third time! That is a tremendous achievement for Katie and everyone at Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics club.

Overall it was a great weekend with Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastic Club Gymnasts wining medals in every category entered.

Congratulations to all the gymnasts and finalists on their success during the British Championships and congratulations to the Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics coaches Gary Jarvis, Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis and Ria Cousins on their team’s success. We also would like to thank all the parents and supporters for their continued support.

Report By Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis.

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