On the weekend of 11th May 2002 the French played host to their 7th French Open Championships for Sports Aerobics. This competition just gets bigger each year and is now attended by the best of Europe’s Sports Aerobics athletes as well as other international athletes.

Following the retirement of Heathrow’s senior trio earlier this year coaches Gary and Natalia have been working hard with the clubs junior competitors and took two trios and four female individuals to the championships. Several other British clubs sent competitors and there were also senior athletes competing for the Great Britain team. Here is how Heathrow did:

Senior Trio’s

Here Heathrow actually sent a junior trio to compete but the competition organisers amalgamated the groups and they suddenly found themselves competing with all the international senior trios! There was a qualification round first where the top eight went through to the final. There were 34 trios in this section from 11 different countries and the trio of Ria Cousins, Charlotte Murray and Katie Cannon from Heathrow performed superbly to score 13.291 and qualify in 8th position for the finals! There was only 0.7 difference between eighth and fifth place and all the trios ahead of them contained athletes who have competed in World and European championships.The Heathrow girls also finished ahead of the Great Britain Senior trio who scored 10.627 and where placed 19th. In the finals Katie, Charlotte and Ria performed well to maintain their eighth position scoring 12.638. Their artistic score was higher than the Italian trio, which took the bronze medal! This was a brilliant result for the girls against a top class field of experienced international trios.

Junior Trio

Here a new trio consisting of three under 16 athletes competed for the first time. Lauren Barton (u16 silver medallist at the 2001 British championships), Sarah Yusufu (under 14 silver medallist in 2001) and Chelsey Dixon (6th place in u14 2002). They performed very well in their first competition as a trio and also Sarah and Chelsey’s first international event. They were up against stiff competition from the host country with eleven different trios in their section. They scored 13.629 taking the bronze medal. An amazing result for their first competition together. Well done girls.

Cadet Female Individuals

Here Lauren, Chelsey and Sarah competed as individuals. Last year Lauren came fifth in this event so was looking to improve on that placing. Lauren performed a great routine to score 14.750 and take the bronze medal. She was very pleased with this result and was only 0.7 behind the athlete in second place. Chelsey and Sarah also performed well in their first international outing with Chelsey scoring 13.650 to take a well-deserved eighth place and Sarah in fifteenth with 13.200. This age group was very tough with 34 athletes from 7 different countries taking part so the girls have done extremely well to gain the placings they did.

Junior Female Individual

Here Katie Cannon competed against 26 other athletes from 7 different countries. She performed a good routine but with some errors, scoring 12.025 to finish tenth. She received a deduction of one mark on her difficulty score and if this had not been the case she would have finished fourth.

The Heathrow athletes have had a great result at these championships and the future looks bright for this group of talented athletes from Heathrow Sports Aerobics. Congratulations to coaches Gary Jarvis and Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis and all the girls for such a great result.

Report By Joanne Stevens

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