It was an early start for our youngest gymnasts. Competing In the 9 – 10 age group category was Bobby Candler, Daisy Copestake, Freddy Liggins and the current British Champion Naana Oppon. Both Bobby and Daisy put on a fantastic performance but sadly didn’t make the qualification cut of top eight to move forward in to the finals. We look forward to seeing them again next year and wish them the best of luck for their future training and competitions. Daisy Copestake will stay amongst the 9-10’s as she was one of our youngest competitors so still has a huge future within the sport and for sure a fantastic talent. Bobby will now look to move up in to the older age group and now needs to work even harder to increase his skill levels ready for next year.
First up in the qualification rounds out of the girls was the current British Champion Naana Oppon, who last year left the crowds and judges speechless and this year she did the same again. After Naanas first 2 passes she was already well in the lead building over a 2.5 mark gap between her and the competition putting her at the top of the leader board ready for finals the following day. Naana had a great deal of pressure on her young shoulders heading in to the finals but did not let that phase her in anyway at just 9 years old she showed why she is a future World level performer, competing a full in pike double somersault she left the crowds amazed. Increasing her lead to 97.800 over 5.5 marks ahead of the other competitors putting her well in to 1st place and retaining her crown and title as British Champion. Naana is an inspiration to so many athletes both young and old and so humble with all her success. Next year Naana will trial and look towards attending her first World Championships and we wish her the very best of luck with her future career within the sport.
Freddy Liggins put on a remarkable display of gymnastics finishing the qualification rounds in a well-earned 6th position with a great deal left to do moving into the finals. Freddy is still at the younger end of this fantastic age group and has already shown to other clubs he is a force to be reckoned with. Capable of competing skills far past his years all eyes are certainly on him now. Moving into the finals Freddy had it all to gain, going for broke and competing a new skill for the first time in competition bagged himself a 3rd place bronze medal with a final accumulated score of 91.700. this was Freddy first ever British Championships, under immense pressure has done himself, coach club and family proud coming away with his first major event medal, we are looking forward to next year and what the future holds for this shining prospect.
Just one girl was up next for MK in her first year in the 11 – 12 category. Against some much bigger girls was “Pocket Rocket” Gabriella Miles. After completing her two qualification passes finishing in 8th place she bagged the last available spot to move in to the final on the Sunday. Gabriella had no option but to push it as much as she could now with accumulated scores she was a good way behind the current leader and all girls were a year older than her making it a tough category to be amongst. Gabi did not disappoint in anyway displaying one of her hardest tumble passes she claimed an overall 5th place finals spot putting her as one of the best in the country. Gabi performed amazingly well this year and we couldn’t be prouder of what she has accomplished at such a young age. Moving towards next year and world trials Gabriella will now be working even harder and look at coming back to British next year for that number one spot.
The next group for the 11 – 12 was the MK boy’s trio Jake Parry, Robert Missen and Malakai Bojang all three of these boys have lead the way in this category over the qualification events this year securing high place positions, medals plus being the younger age of this cataory they all have the talent and potential to go all the way. Jake and Robert were both on form and gained there spots in the finals to push for the title the next day. Malakai was the current 9 – 10 British Champion but was unfortunate and was unable to make the cut to head into Sundays finals. Malakai has just returned to training after 6 months out with edema bone marrow swelling and still pushing some of the bigger skills in this age group it was an off day for him but he will be coming back stronger and more determined next year to take back his British Title.
Jake put on a fantastic display in the final but with the accumulated scores he was only able to come away with a 4th place position and a total score of 83.600. Sadly not enough to take a medal but either way shows he is well up there with the best and next year will be looking to challenge for the title. Robert Missen again was unfortunate having a fantastic qualifications round and heading into the final in 3rd place had it all to gain. Robert made a slight mistake on his finals pass and was unable to complete the skill that could have pushed him into the lead. Coming away with a 5th place position and a score of 83.300 he will be back next year to take what could well have been his this year. The Mk trio are a serious tumbling force and all have what it takes to becoming future British and even World Champions one day.
The Echo Arena was now full and all eyes were certainly on this next athlete. Last year Jack Leahy came away from the World Championships with a 2nd place silver medal and truly stood out amongst the boys in his 13 – 14 category at this year’s British Championships. After competing some difficult routines far past anything his competitors were doing he had already secured a score of 65.500 putting him in 1st place and a very comfortable 6.5 mark lead. The finals stage was set and going last out of the top 8 Jack could have easily gone with a simple routine to seal the deal and take the title but that wasn’t the case in anyway. Jack went all out with a monster sized triple twisting double straight somersault and a huge score of 33.600 for his final routine. This accumulated to 99.100 and 100% made sure that Jack was the new 2016 British Champion. Not only that but jack in fact put himself into the history books as the youngest boy to ever compete and triple twisting double straight (Miller) the crowd were on their feet when Jack landed showing their full support and appreciation for such amazing skill and determination. This meant a great deal to Jack and his coach since 2013 always coming in 2nd place and at a World Championships too, we are hoping this is a start of things to come for this amazing athlete.
Kai Richardson was next to follow from Jack unfortunately nerves got the better of him and he was unable to get both of his tumble runs onto his feet. Kai was supposed to compete at last year’s British Championships but had an injury that prevented him from doing so, Kai is an extremely hard worker and has some serious difficulty in his skill set so we will now be pushing for that next year and hope we can see a great deal more from this young man. British might not have gone to plan but he has now just become a big brother to his baby sister who we hope one day with his guidance will follow in his sporting footsteps and become a part of the ever growing team.
Jacob Tuck and Kieran Craig were next up in the 15 – 16 category next to the seniors this was the hardest group to be in with all four of the European Championship winning team being in this age group they had a big task ahead, both boys landed their skills and had an overall fantastic competition it just wasn’t quite enough in difficulty to be able to make a finals appearance. Both boys will now be back in the gym increasing their skill level ready for a promising year ahead.
James Odwell was next up with Dominic Wyatt in the 17 – 18 Boys category again a big age group against some serious talent from around the country. Dominic was unfortunate and didn’t quite make the finals but all round had a great weekend and competition. James he in fact qualified in 8th place to take a finals place performing some much harder routines than he is used to did a fantastic job coming away in 6th place overall. We look forward to seeing what both boys have in store for next year.
The last category was the hugely anticipated Senior Men. Milton Keynes Gymnastics had two senior athletes in this section. Dylan Zastron and William Breslin were ready to take the stage to compete against European and world champions both team and individual. First up was Dylan Zastron performing some fantastic routines and with a high level of difficulty and execution manage to come away with a score of 65.300 for his qualification round finishing in 7th place with a great deal to do the finals would require Dylan to step up his runs and make sure he stays on his feet, he did just that finishing the weekend out with an accumulated score of 134.100 and in 7th place he performed fantastic and will now be getting ready for next year’s British and World trials.
The last senior for MK to go was William Breslin. Having a poor year in terms of performance Will has worked extremely hard to control his nerves and become a professional athlete. Landing both of his qualification runs and a high level of difficulty secured him in 5th place moving to the finals with a score of 68.000. Will once again did not disappoint and pieced together his finals runs extremely well coming away in 6th place and a total score of 135.200 he has delivered a clean competition and proved he is up there against the best in the country. Following this he has been picked to represent GBR at his 3rd senior World Cup in Coimbra Portugal. From everyone at Milton Keynes Gymnastics we would like to wish him the very best of luck.
To round everything up this year’s British was a huge success for Milton Keynes Gymnastics with 18 qualified for the event, 9 finalists, 2 British Champions, 1 bronze medal and senior selection for an international event we couldn’t be happier. A huge credit to the coaching team that made all this possible and the ongoing support of family and friends we look forward to next year.