Tumbling British Champions Crowned

Milton Keynes Gymnastics travelled all the way to Liverpool for this year’s Trampoline & Tumbling British Championships 2015. The event was held at the amazing Echo arena which has been the host to a number of huge gymnastics events this year already.

Seventeen talented gymnastics tumblers from Milton Keynes Gymnastics had made it through all the qualifying events throughout the year in order to secure their chance to fight it out against the best of the best for the British Champion title and have bragging rights for the rest of their lives.

All tumblers headed into the arena on Friday 11th September in order to get their first chance of podium training and find their feet on the equipment before entering into the qualifying rounds the next day. With an enormous amount of pressure everyone seemed to do very well with the adrenaline taking over they all knew what was at stake and how real everything now was.

(Qualifiers) Saturday 12th September

The top sixteen gymnasts had to perform two of their best routines in order to secure a top eight place and qualify for the finals to follow on Sunday.

First up was the 9 – 10 girl’s category in which three from Milton Keynes Gymnastics took to the tumble track ready to go Charlotte Denison was first up and put on a very impressive display unfortunately only taking 12th position she did not make the cut to move forward. Charlotte did an amazing job and we are all proud of her achievements to come so far. Next up was Gabriella Miles showing her amazing talent and claiming herself 6th place securing her spot into the finals. Following Gabriella came Naana Oppon being the youngest girl in this category at just 8 years old she did not hold back unleashing two outstanding runs that sat her on the top spot heading into the finals. Naana performed skills far passed anyone of her age group and proved that she was a serious contender and not one to be taken lightly.

Following the girls it was time for the 9 – 10 boys in which Milton Keynes Gymnastics had a impressive four boys in. Ayo Adewumi was first up giving it his very best go he came away in 10th place. Ayo has worked very hard recently to up his game and try to push all the boys in his category we are looking forward to seeing what more Ayo can offer moving into his next competition. Next was the very impressive Malakai Bojang who throughout the year has dominated his age group taking a medal in every competition so far and once again he posted two very impressive scores which qualified him in 1st place heading into the finals alongside his team mates. Jake Parry was up next and performed some impressive routines but sadly took an awkward landing which saw him drop into 10th place. After a very impressive year also taking a medal in every completion so far he was extremely unfortunate not to make the finals but we hope to see a lot more from him. Robert Missen was our next tumbler up and he looked very sharp coming away with a 3rd place position to head into the finals with a very comfortable score.

Phoebe Copestake was next up in the 11 – 12 girls category after coming away from women’s artistic Phoebe has worked extremely hard battling injuries and overcoming a great deal to now find herself with the best in the country. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for her and she finished her qualifying round in 11th place but was still smiling and continued to support al her teammates for the weekend great work Phoebe and we look forward to seeing you compete again soon.

Jack Leahy was next up in the 11 – 12 boys and he was out to set records. After coming back from The World Cup in Russia with a gold medal in July Jack was ready to fight it out for the title. Performing two amazing routines Jack had not only secured 2nd place into the finals but has also confirmed his place at this year’s World Championships in Odense, Denmark in December. Jack is such a talented tumbler and always has everybody looking to see just what he is going to perform next. The finals was set to be something special.

James Odwell and Kieran Craig took to the stage next in the 15 – 16 boys category. This age group was a seriously hard one with everyone performing routines that looked amazing. Both boys performed very well competing new skills and holding back the nerves very well. Unfortunately after all boys had shown their runs Kieran finished in 10th whilst James took 12th place. Both boys have come very far in such a short space of time and are showing signs that they are ones to watch for.

Rhianna Mackenzie was to follow in the 15 – 16 girls category. After performing very well coming back from a serious calf tear she was in great form taking herself 8th place and a well-earned spot with her team mates heading into the finals.

Benjamin Goodall was up next to represent his club and himself in the 17+ boys category this was a seriously tough one not only where all boys trying to secure a place in Sundays final but Team Great Britain where using the qualifications round as a second trial for the upcoming World Championships. Ben had an enormous amount of pressure on him and to top it all off came down with a severe sickness bug on the Friday evening. Battling against the doctors recommendations Ben performed two amazing routines and grabbed himself a 3rd place position heading into the final. Ben has also performed criteria needed to fight for a spot in the World Championship team which will be announced on Friday 18th September.

Last but not least was William Breslin in the Senior Men category. This was Williams first year in the seniors and has worked extremely hard to qualify for a spot at the British Championships and be amongst the best the country has to offer alongside guests from both Canada and Denmark. Will performed two outstanding routines and took the 8th position moving into the anticipated senior men’s final.

Unfortunately we had two gymnasts who were unable to compete due to injuries Kai Richardson and Dylan Zastron who we would like to wish the best of luck and hope they have a speedy recovery. We look forward to seeing them fit and well soon and back competing.

(Finals) Sunday 13th September

Today was the day that not one but eight amazingly talented tumblers from Milton Keynes Gymnastics took to the stage to battle it out to see just who the number one in the country really is. After a long and jam packed day qualifying on the Saturday the stage was finally set for what was going to be a thrilling day of final rounds.

The arena was unbelievable the seats where packed with families, friends, and teammates ready to cheer on all competitors taking part on the day. At 8:35am it was the 9 – 10 girls set to kick things off to an unbelievable start with lights flashing everywhere and huge pyrotechnics as the girls walked out onto the competition floor the crowds went crazy.

Gabriella Miles was first up to take her shot at the title. After performing a fantastic routine ending with a full twist she came away with a well-deserved 5th place and showed everyone that next year she will be coming back even stronger ready to challenge all. Gabriella looked fantastic and we are all so very proud of her for what she has achieved in her first year of Elite level gymnastics tumbling and there is so much more to come look out for miss miles as she is going to be a serious talent.

Naana Oppon was last to go after qualifying in first place she was leading the pack by a good margin, but with finals all scores are reset and everyone gets one shot to post the best routine and score for that number one spot. After watching her competitors Naana knew that she had to land her run on her feet in order to take the title and that’s just what she did. After months of preparation and countless hours of training sessions Naanas last conversation with her coach before she powered down the tumble track was simply “everything you have worked for has been for this one moment”

As her coach Michael French made his way to the centre of the arena Naana presented to her judges and powered her way down the track performing an outstanding double pike somersault which left the crowd astonished. At only 8 years old Naana was the youngest girl in her age group and performed as if she was a senior athlete, leaving her competition miles behind. Naana became the first British champion of the day and also became the first British champion of her coach making him extremely proud including everyone at Milton Keynes Gymnastics. A massive congratulations to you and your monumental achievement it is safe to say that this young girl has an exciting career ahead of her and we all wait in anticipation to see what comes next.

On stage next was Robert Missen in the 9 – 10 boys, after securing his place in today’s finals yesterday in third place he was ready to push all the boys that little bit more and aim for the medals. Robert did a great job but sadly had to just settle for 5th place overall. A great performance and yet another young gymnast ready to come back stronger next year.

Malakai Bojang was finally up after qualifying in first place he too got to watch everyone perform before it was time for him to show what he is about. Malakai is such a powerhouse and capable of skills far past what most boys his age are currently doing. After his performance Malakai stormed into the lead and became the second British Champion of the day and it wasn’t even lunch time yet, beating his competitors by a good number of points. After he landed his final element his coach and Mali knew that he had done it and finally had bragging rights to say I am the best in the country. Malakai will now look to next year as he moves into the age group above and start being eligible to compete for his country as well as representing his club. He is such a fantastic athlete and a great personality which complement each other nicely. Once again a massive congratulations to you and your coach on such a prestigious result.

Jack Leahy was next up in the 11 – 12 category. After a year of battling it out with boys from all over the country, winning a world cup gold medal and competing with his tumbling rival it was his time to walk through the curtain, through the huge pyrotechnic flames, flashing lights and cheering crowds to final go all out. Jack performed a massive double twisting double straight as his final element which was huge. After qualifying in second it meant that one more boy was yet to go to try and knock Jack off the top spot. Unluckily for Jack that’s what happened just pipped to the British Title but came away with his head held high and well-earned second place silver medal. In the very short space of time Jack has been tumbling he has amazed and astonished coaches with his natural ability to learn new skills and upgrade his performance time and time again. Jack will now head to Odense, Denmark in December and go against the very best in the world to see if he has what it takes to be a World Champion.

Rhianna Mackenzie was to go next representing her club in the 15 – 16 girls category. This was a very hard age group to be in due to some very talented young women taking part in the event all of which were also trailing for a spot in this year’s world championships. Rhianna has been battling a serious calf injury and we are all so proud she has come this far. Unfortunately she made a slight mistake making her run slightly slower than normal and causing her to take a fall on her final element giving her an overall eighth place in this year’s final. We hope to see her fit and well and back next year to give it another go.

Benjamin Goodall was finally up after waiting and waiting all day battling illness and nerves it was finally his time to show what he can do. The 17 – 18 boys category was one of the hardest and best age groups by far with boys competing skills that just amazed and dazzled the crowds. Ben had claimed a third place qualifying run which put him mid pack so he knew he had to perform with everything he had. Once he stood up onto the tumble track run up chalked up his hands and feet Ben took on board everything his coach was telling him and became much more focused. Staring down at the judges and waiting to present he knew what needed to be done. Ben performed and monstrous triple twisting double tuck (Miller) as he landed it he didn’t move it was a stuck performance to which all the supporters cheered and let Ben know he had done a fantastic job. With an emotional family and friends the waited for the score which claimed him a joint second place silver medal which was an amazing result. We would like to wish Ben the very best of luck for the future and hope he can move forward to some international competitions later this year.

Finally it was the one everybody had been waiting for the senior men category this group had a world class line up from World and European Champion Kristoph Willerton to guests from Canada and Denmark alongside Milton Keynes Gymnastics very own William Breslin. The finals was set to be the one to watch for everyone. Every seat in arena was jam packed and ready to start the final event of the day. William was first to get things going attempting to try a brand new routine he made a slight error but recovered very well fighting his way down to the end of the tumble track. As it was the seniors they are required to competing two combined tumble runs and that is just what he did a well-executed full twisting double straight transition to be finished with a double twisting double tuck and finally finished off in seventh place overall.

For Will this was a huge achievement as he has always been very unlucky at previous competitions but this was finally the time he proved to everyone he has what it takes to be with the very best in the world.

The event was a monumental success for Milton Keynes Gymnastics dominating an age group with two British Champions, taking two silver medals, eight finalists and a guaranteed World Championship place we couldn’t be prouder of all of our amazing gymnasts for such hard work and determination.