Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Future of British Gymnastics: Glasgow Espoir Competition

A handful of Britain's young gymnasts descended on Glasgow last weekend, to take part in the 2013 Espoir competition, a meet held adjoined with the World Cup. All girls competing were either 12 or 13 years old. I was fortunate enough to watch both the all-around competition and the apparatus finals which were held on Friday and Saturday evenings respectively. I did not know much about the competitors, with the exception of Catherine Lyons and Teal Grindle, so I was content to sit back and become familiar with the athletes. I was very impressed with the maturity of the performances of many of the young athletes, and was delighted to see many expressive, confident and creative routines.

All-around competition
1st Catherine Lyons (Europa) 56.20
2nd Teal Grindle (Sapphire) 55.65
3rd Lucy Stanhope (City of Liverpool) 50.25
4th Louise McColgan (Largs) 50.15
5th Latalia Bevan (St. Tydfils) 49.60
6th Claudia Barkes (South Durham) 48.85
7th Alice Kinsella (Park Wrekin) 48.80
8th Maisie Methuen (Phoenix) 48.10

Lyons and Grindle were really a league above everyone else, with the two of them claiming the top two spots on every apparatus. Both girls had falls on bar, but in the end it was Catherine who claimed the top overall score. Nevertheless, it is obvious that these two young talents have a bright future ahead. Catherine has gorgeous lines, dynamic releases on bar and beautiful beam and floor choreography. Teal has already mastered many difficult skills across the board and has clean execution to boot! She is a confident performer and a very determined young lady- after a very nasty fall from bar on the second day she got back up to finish and performed a fantastic full-twisting double back dismount.

All-around medalists from the 2013 Glasgow Espoir competition, Catherine, Teal and Lucy

Here is Catherine's bar routine from the all-around final, the height on her geinger is amazing! Score 12.60

Teal's charismatic floor routine from the all-around competition. Score 13.75

Bronze medal winner Lucy Stanhope from City of Liverpool is another strong all-arounder and a very clean and elegant gymnast. See her here in the beam finals. Many of the Espoirs were doing this mount, I am unsure of the difficulty rating, but it certainly looks cool! Also doing very well was Scottish Louise McColgan. Also a very neat gymnast, she is especially fun to watch on floor. You can see her routine here.

Apparatus Finals

Teal warming up on floor

Catherine warming up on beam

Louise McColgan showing great flexibility in her leaps

Bronze medal winner Holly Jones on floor. Holly is another gymnast with gorgeous long lines!

1st Catherine Lyons 13.95 
2nd Teal Grindle 13.65
3rd Maisie Methuen 13.55

1st= Catherine Lyons and Alice Kinsella 13.00
3rd Teal Grindle 12.7 (fall)

1st Catherine Lyons 14.90
2nd Lucy Stanhope 13.60
3rd Amelia Montague 13.55

1st Catherine Lyons 14.75
2nd Teal Grindle 13.70
3rd Holly Jones and Latalia Bevan 13.50

Most of the vaults being performed were piked/ layout yurchenkos, Teal and Catherine both did FTY as their first vaults. Saw a few tsukaharas as well as one handspring front. Most of the girls are too small to be performing difficult vaults, but I'm sure they will come as they get older- they are only 12 and 13!

Overall I was very impressed by the talent on bar. Britain now has a strong reputation for bar, thanks to the likes of Beth Tweddle, Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold who have done very well on the world stage. This batch of Espoirs can definitely follow in their footsteps. Beams were also good, with reasonable difficulty. Catherine had a great routine, for which she was rewarded with a 14.90!

Most impressive of all were the floor routines. All finalists showed very polished routines, there were no major mistakes. These girls already look like professional gymnasts and have real artistic flair! I think that allowing gymnasts at such a young age to compete on a podium (in an arena like the Glasgow World Cup one) is a great experience for them, and really will help to build their confidence for the coming years of senior competition.

Catherine's winning floor routine

Article by Imogen Browne (follow on twitter @Iflip4gymblog)

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