3 Gold Medal Triumphs for Heathrow Aerobic Gymnasts in Germany!

Eisenberg Aerobic Club hosted their first international club meeting at the weekend with representatives from Belgium, France, the UK and some of the top clubs in Germany. Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club, under the guidance of Gary Jarvis and Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis, took 11 gymnasts to this inaugural event.

We flew into Leipzig, in the old eastern part of the country, and were met by members of the host club for the hour’s drive to Eisenberg. Our hotel was very small but was in the main cobbled street of town – the hotelier was delightful and did her very best to ensure a comfortable stay. We hadn’t had lunch so we managed to persuade a local restaurateur to stay open a little longer to feed us – our party filled his café! In the evening we went to a local school hall for some training time – here we learnt that children from the age of 5 learn aerobics in their PE lessons as their teacher is an enthusiast. Later we were taken to a Gaststatte (pub), with rustic charm and a real stuffed bear (causing much consternation), for a meal.

Saturday morning offered a short lie-in. After breakfast, local club member Robbie took us on a guided tour of the town – in Spring, the Schlosskirche (church) must look magnificent. However it was bitterly cold with black ice around – having treated himself to a hat, Gary then demonstrated how not to do an aerobic transition! So, with a quick detour via the venue, we headed back. Lunch was a challenge: we persuaded the café owner from the previous day to open up for us especially - grand job!

It was straight back to the venue then, the local grammar school’s new extension – very smart. Heathrow had the first warm-up slot which gave us chance to get a feel for the other teams. The host club, Eisenberg, and the Stuttgart club were obviously the ones to look out for!

The competition finally started early evening to a packed audience. National Development and Senior categories were first up. Katie Cannon took the opportunity of this out-of- season competition to try out some new elements in preparation for the forthcoming British season – although the score was in itself disappointing, she gained some valuable practice and still clinched the winner’s trophy and a very large teddy for the best score of the day! Chelsey Dixon, competing in the senior category for the first time, came in a very promising third and has learnt where the work is needed for our home season.

The Group 2 category was especially well fought, not only amongst the nations but also between the Heathrow athletes. Siana Shipley took 1st place from fellow team-mate Kirsty Banfield by a clear margin but just 0.25 separated her 2nd place from Jacqui Bamforth in 6th. Sian Hill was very frustrated with herself for lifting a foot off the floor in an element but given both she and Lauren Sargood had both been recently promoted from NAC, and up an age group, they held their own. (Stephanie Fois unfortunately couldn’t compete on the day due to injury – she helped cheer loudly!)

The Group 1 competition was equally as challenging - Sophie Lewis completed the hat-trick of winners’ trophies for Heathrow, scoring a personal best at 17.45 and the second best score of the day with a very clean routine, beating local star Julia Rucker – a name to spot in the future! Natalie Green and Jenna Nola also pulled out good routines coming 5th and 8th respectively.

A fantastic set of results for Heathrow, we could never have hoped to win all three categories entered. A fact which was celebrated at the only restaurant open after 11 pm (Greek). Food might have been difficult to find, but every meal we had, all weekend, was delicious!
This was a superbly organised event, for which heartfelt thanks must go to Michael Grabitz and Andrea Zimmermann, and one which is bound to become a regular fixture in the international calendar in future years. We’re looking forward to their return visit here in September.

Also thanks to Gary and Natalia, coaches and judge respectively, for arranging the trip for everyone – we all had a fantastic time.

Eisenberg International Club Meeting
25th February 2006

Results for competitors from Heathrow Aerobic Gym Club:

Gymnast Category Score Rank
Katie Cannon Senior - IW 17.75 1st
Chelsey Dixon Senior – IW 15.75 3rd

Siana Shipley Group 2- IW 16.45 1st
Kirsty Banfield Group 2- IW 14.95 2nd
Jacqui Bamforth Group 2- IW 14.70 6th
Sian Hill Group 2- IW 13.60 9th
Lauren Sargood Group 2- IW 12.75 11th

Sophie Lewis Group 1- IW 17.45 1st
Natalie Green Group 1- IW 15.85 5th
Jenna Nola Group 1 - IW


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