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On November 18-19, 2006, the Welsh Institute of Sport once again played host to the Welsh Open/Closed Championships in Aerobic Gymnastics. The Welsh Open Championships is the third biggest event of the year and one of the three competitions that is taken into consideration for National Squad testing. All competitors were trying to do their best routines to impress the judges and gain the highest score. Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club had entered 16 gymnasts into the competition. Seven gymnasts competed in the National aerobics code competition (NAC) and 9 gymnasts took part in the International aerobic code competition (FIG). Some of the gymnasts are very experienced and have competed in international and national events, but some of the gymnasts were competing for the first time.



First on the stage were gymnasts from the Foundation Level. Twenty competitors from 8 clubs were entered in this round. This was the youngest category of the competition. All of the gymnasts in this category must be 9 years of age in the year of the competition. Competitors must perform a routine that is 1 minute 15 seconds in length and include some compulsory elements. Heathrow Aerobics Gymnastics Club had one gymnast competing in this section. This was the very first competition for Chloe Byne. Chloe worked really hard on her routine before this competition and was looking forward to showing the judges her new routine for the first time. She performed a delightful routine with enthusiasm and charisma. Chloe scored all her difficulty elements and received a total score of 14.050, finishing 10th out of 20 gymnasts. It is a very promising start for Chloe. Her coaches are very pleased with her achievements and excited about her future.
Next on the competition floor were 35 competitors from the National Development Level, representing 10 clubs. Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club was represented by three gymnasts: Tyler Ansel, Siana Williams and Emma Bevan.
Both Tyler and Siana had already competed in 2 national events this year with Tyler receiving a bronze medal at the British Championships. For Emma Bevan this was her first ever competition in aerobics gymnastics. Emma was first to compete out of the 35 gymnasts – not an easy task, considering it was her first competition. She performed a good routine losing only one element out of eight she performed but was lacking confidence and was understandably nervous. With a score of 14.050 Emma took 19th place.
Next up was Siana Williams, who tried very hard to impress the judges with her routine and received one of the highest difficulty scores in her age group, 0.75. Scoring 14.5 in total Siana improved on her score from the British Championships by 0.45 and took 11th position.
Then it was Tyler Ansel taking the stage with her exciting routine. She did the club proud with her confident and precise performance. Tyler scored all of her difficulty elements and shared the highest difficult score with Siana. She also had the second highest artisitic score in this age group. Scoring 14.65 in total she improved on her score from the British Championships by 0.3. However the same score of 14.65 in total and 7.00 on artistic was also achieved by another gymnast whom scored 0.1 higher then Tyler on execution and sadly this time she had to settle for forth place, which is still a brilliant result for Tyler.
Later on it was time for the Group 1 ( 12-14 ) gymnasts to compete for the medals. Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club was relying on two gymnasts in this category: Emily Keane and Ella De Cruz. The girls had to compete against 29 gymnasts from 10 clubs.
First it was Ella performing her routine. She had more confidence in her showmanship and was much better on execution than at the British Championships, scoring 7.3 – the highest execution in this age group. Ella received 1.8 on her difficulty, scoring every single element in her routine. The total score for Ella was 15.00, which is 1.2 better then her score at the British Championships. Ella De Cruz finished in 7th place, four places higher then at the British Championships. What a fantastic result for Ella!
Then it was the time for Emily Keane to show her energetic routine. She performed
a solid routine with much better presentation and sharpness than at the British Championships. Emily received 7.2 on execution which is 0.4 better then at the British Championships and a total score of 15.25, which is 0.55 better then at the British Championships. Emily Keane came second and was presented with a silver medal.
Coach Gary Jarvis commented: “It is amazing how much the girls had improved since the British Championships and it is great to see their confidence grow from one competition to another. All the girls worked really hard and are an absolute pleasure to coach. Everyone at Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club is proud of there achievements.”



After a very successful NAC Competition it was time for the FIG competitors to step into the spotlight. Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club had entered 9 gymnasts into this competition. Five of the girls are current GB National Squad Members and Heathrow was relying on them and their experience.
First it was Group 1 (12 to14 years) fighting for the medals. A total of 22 gymnasts from 8 clubs had entered this competition. Eight of them are National Squad gymnasts. Heathrow had two competitors in this category: Sophie Lewis and Natalie Green.
First was Natalie. She looked confident and focused. She performed her energetic routine with sharpness and enthusiasm. Unfortunately Natalie only scored 7.150 on artistic (which was very much underscored, in our opinion). For the same routine at the British Championships she received an artistic score of 7.8. However 7.15 on artistic and a total score of 15.45 were not enough and Natalie had to settle for 15th place.
Later it was Sophie Lewis trying to impress the judges. In her preparation for the Welsh Open Championships she had injured her hip and was still determined to compete. Sophie looked strong and confident and managed to perform a good routine, but in places did not look as sharp as usual. She received the highest difficulty score of 1.4 in this age group and a total score of 16.100, but still had to settle for 7th place.
After Group 1 it was time for Group 2 competitors to step on the floor. Fourteen gymnasts from 7 clubs had entered this category. Eight of them are National Squad members. Most of these gymnasts had a very busy year and had competed at different national and international events. Heathrow had 5 gymnasts in this group: Jacqui Bamforth, Siana Shipley, Kirsty Banfield, Sian Hill, and Rosie Webster.
First up was Sian Hill. She performed a good routine and tried very hard on her artistic. This time Sian looked much sharper than at the British Championships and more confident. Unfortunately she had made two mistakes in her supports family and received a deduction of 1.00 from the difficulty judges. Total score for Sian was 14.85 and she finished 12th. Next up was Jacqui Bamforth. Jacqui had competed very well during this year and had made amazing progress and everyone was waiting for her performance. She competed with a very confident routine with a lot of charisma. She had the second highest score of 7.45 on artistic, and scored a total of 16.400 and 4th place. (Yet again I feel that Jacqui was very much underscored on her artistic, considering that it is exactly the same routine she had performed at the British Championships 4 weeks before. At the British Championships she received an artistic score of 8.05 in qualification and 8.0 in the final.)
Next was Siana Shipley. Siana was very determined to prove that her routine was good enough for a medal position. She stormed the stage with her vivacious personality and fantastic showmanship. Siana was very much in control and took very good care of her technical skills, scoring the highest score of 8.05 on execution in this age group. Siana scored 16.9 in total and received a silver medal. A brilliant achievement for Siana!
After Siana it was time for Rosie Webster to show her routine. Rosie tried really hard to impress the judges. She had a lovely presentation throughout her routine and was sharp and precise. She made a little error in one of the compulsory elements and did not receive a value for it. Rosie scored 15.85 in total and finished 9th.
The last competitor from Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics was Kirsty Banfield. Kirsty performed a solid routine and worked really hard. But she made some mistakes on three of her difficulty elements and did not receive a very high difficulty score. This only gave her the total score of 15.7 and set her back to the10th place.
Later in the evening it was time for the seniors to take the stage. Four competitors were competing for the medals. Heathrow was represented in this event by Katie Cannon and Christina Fossheim.
First Christina took the stage. She looked more confident and precise than she had at the British Championships. She performed a good routine but had trouble with the support family and lost the value for both elements and received a difficulty deduction of 0.5. (But it was the execution score deviations that surprised me. Christina is very clean in her work. Yes, she had made mistakes but her leg extension, her foot work, her basic steps and transitions and linking of the elements were very well executed. And it is very strange to see such a difference between the execution judge’s scores, ranging from 7.9 to 6.7.) Christina received a total score of 15.85 and 4th place.
Next Katie Cannon tried to win the judges over. She looked very confident and in control. She performed a very energetic, well-executed routine. She received the highest artistic score of 7.7 and the highest execution score of 8.050. Katie also received the highest score on difficulty of 2.2 and a total score of 17.95. Katie Cannon was presented with the gold medal.

Overall it was a successful weekend for Heathrow Aerobic Gymnastics Club. Congratulations to all of our gymnasts and coaches Gary Jarvis, Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis and Ria Cousins for their achievements and hard work. We are now waiting to find out how many of our gymnasts will be invited to National Squad Testing in January 2007.

Report By Natalia Ilienko-Jarvis.

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