French Open Championships and
World Series Event
Clermont Ferrand, France
3-8th May 2006
Five members of Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club together with coaches
Gary and Natalia Jarvis, were part of the British Squad which travelled
out to compete in France earlier this month – Gary, as Head of Delegation
and coach, and Natalia, as one of Britain’s International Judges.
The team flew from Stansted to Lyon, then had a three hour coach journey
to Clermont Ferrand, which is in the central southern mountainous region
of France. Not that they saw much of the mountains, they were either indoors
or it was pouring with rain!
Thursday brought a three hour training session for all, including an
opportunity to experience the raised podium on which they’d compete. On
Friday the entire squad took part in the opening ceremony. The first category
to compete in the open event was the Seniors – for Chelsey Dixon this
was her first major international, since moving up from Group 2 (15-17).
Feeling in better form than for the club trip to Germany, Chelsey was
confident about her routine. She performed a very clean routine coming
13th with 15.35 – she was then delighted to find that under international
rules, she’d gained a place in the final. Her second routine wasn’t as
polished - she finished 10th .
The Group 2 girls, Kirsty Banfield and Stephanie Fois also competed on
Friday - theirs was a big group. Stephanie’s routine was going really
well until she stumbled on her free hand vertical split, missing some
choreography – this caused a 0.5 deduction. However she finished the routine
scoring 14.1. Kirsty did a good routine, performing all her elements well,
Katie Cannon, one of Britain’s two senior hopes, had worked hard to increase
the difficulty of her routine in preparation for the World Championships
in China in June. Still nursing a sprained forearm, this was an opportunity
for Katie to try out her new routine. There was controversy over one element
which the judges deducted, although it seems Katie didn’t actually touch
the floor, but she was pleased to finish with a score of 17.15 against
some of the best in the world.
Early Sunday morning brought the Group 1 athletes to the floor. Sophie
Lewis, started well, but landed awkwardly after a jump – managing to smile,
she carried on. The fall cost her an element, as she then couldn’t turn
properly on her foot for her full spin to vertical. Nevertheless finishing
15th out of 30 with a score of 15.70, she was pleased and justified her
inclusion in the squad for this event.
The World Series finals on Sunday afternoon brought a stunning display
of artistry and strength – the Chinese 6-Group of men were particularly
amazing, performing high class elements, which none of the British can
On Sunday night there was a valuable meeting of senior international
athletes to share thoughts about the sport’s future development and a
party for all the international competitors.
Results of Heathrow competitors:
Event: Category: Score:
Katie Cannon World Series Senior 17.15
Chelsey Dixon French Open Senior 15.35
Kirsty Banfield French Open Group 2 (15-17) 14.45
Stephanie Fois French Open Group 2 (15-17) 14.10
Sophie Lewis French Open Group 1 (12-14) 15.70
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