West Sussex girls shine on international gymnastics stage

Sisters Sophie, Mia and Amy Brown
Sisters Sophie, Mia and Amy Brown

SEVEN of the best gymnasts from the Chichester area represented Great Britain - competing for Portsmouth School of Gymnastics - in the British leg of the International TeamGym Cup.

The competition takes place all over Europe and sees the best club teams compete against each other. To win the International Cup each team’s best two leg scores are added together. The British leg, which took place in Bracknell, is the fourth competition of the year.

First up were the youth age group for gymnasts aged eight to 12.

The Portsmouth-based team, which includes Ellie Pacey (11, from Felpham) and Mia Brown (nine, from Chichester) went in with high hopes following a brilliant fourth place in the UK championships in May. Up against them were five other teams which included all three medallists from the UK championships.

Knowing the best score recorded in the first three of the European legs was 39.50, the aim was to finish as high as possible and try to score a mark close to their UK final score of 41.60.

Following solid trampette and vault streams the girls were able to produce a stunning floor routine which broke the British record and means PSG now hold the top scores in all three women’s age groups. A faultless display in the tumbling streams meant the girls had given themselves a real shot at a medal.

The parents and gymnasts nervously awaited the final results only to find they had scored 43.50 and won the competition by three marks from their nearest opposition.

Next up were the junior girls (12-16). As runners up at this year’s UK championships they were buoyed by the outstanding result from their younger compatriots.

Competing against seven other teams which included this year’s UK champions Scarborough and the Italian national champions, the girls were keen to demonstrate their routines which were packed full of difficulty.

The PSG squad, which includes Anna Richardson (15, Chichester), Holly Waters (15, Chichester) and sisters Amy and Sophie Brown (16 and 14, Chichester) started the competition with improved trampette and vault streams that included double front half saltos in the pike shape.

This was followed by another great floor display which again broke their own British record, scoring 19.10 marks.

In the final piece of apparatus, the tumble, a near faultless display saw the team landing four double-back somersaults which included Holly and Sophie landing the moves for the first time in competition.

With Scarborough completing their slightly-lower tariff routines without any falls the girls knew it was going to be close. As the final positions were announced, a well-deserved silver medal was presented - PSG coming in comfortably ahead of Scarborough and only 0.05 marks behind the Italians Olympia Gambettola.

The Portsmouth score of 46.80 is more than three marks higher than any other European leg winners. The girls will be keen to beat the Italians and put right their errors in the final leg of the competition which takes place in Gran Canaria on November 22. Mia and Ellie will also travel to this competition hoping to cement their place as Europe’s No1 club team.

In the senior age group former high school pupil Fenella Mousley and Chichester University student Rochelle Oxley represented the PSG senior girls’ team.

The reigning double British senior champions had already won the Austrian leg of the event by over ten marks. Looking for a second decisive win, the team made it a day of superb floor displays and also broke their own UK record with a routine that scored 21.55.

With their closest rivals Dornbirn (Germany) finishing 10.50 behind, the highly-successful team are confirmed as international cup winners for 2013. The girls will now turn their attention to winning the British title for the third year in a row and winning the right to represent Great Britain in next year’s European Cup.