FORTY travelling Arabian gymnasts certainly suffered from no ‘austerity measures’ when they banked an incredible 67 medals at the recent European Gymnastic Invitation event.
The competition, which saw over 260 gymnasts taking to the floor representing 14 clubs, from eight counties – coming from all corners of Great Britain – was praised by gymnastics sponsor Milano of its organisation. And it was the girls from the Bletchley club who once again stole the show.
Libby Usher is just four years-old, but she won five medals – three of which were gold – out of the club’s superb medal haul. In fact Arabian’s youngsters bagged a total of 22 gold medals at the event held in Spalding.
For once it was not just the very top girls stealing the headlines, with gymnasts Nell Maze Brown, Emma Small, Kamryn McKay, Rebecca Walker-Coleman, Emma Partridge, Katie Clarke, Rebecca Reynolds, Madeline Brown, Emma McEvaddy and Madeline James Bowen just some of the gold medal winners keeping the top girls company by producing winning performances.
Hannah Peachey, Brooke Moon, Emilee Brookes, Jessica Hilton and Tayla Smith all brought home silvers.
The different levels of the event are named after European cities, and the more advanced level of Moscow saw Casey Hodges and Sophie Clarke gain golds and Alisha May Sweeney, Louisa Cuthbert, Alesha Patel and Lucy Thompson take silvers.
The most difficult top level where the very top gymnasts compete is aptly named Athens, and saw eight year-old Phoebe Copestake and 10 year-old Molly Harris win the only gold medals, with nine year-old Millie Barnes counting herself very unlucky with her three silvers.
Tionne Cumberbatch and Poppy Gibbs also brought home two silvers each.
The most amazing result however, didn’t come in the harder levels, but in the intermediate level when eight year-old Emily Kettle – who had not so long ago broke two bones in her left arm after a fall – won two golds on the balance beam and on tumble.
She has shown incredible bravery and determination to not just recover from her injury, but then to go out and represent Arabian and her city within months of the accident.
Head coach Alan Armitage was full of praise for her, and the rest of the club’s team.
“It was great to see so many girls involved representing the club and city and doing so well,” he said.
“As one of the hardest sports on the body and mind to master, it has given us all a huge smile to watch these beautiful youngsters perform the sport so admirably in front of hundreds of spectators.
“There can be nothing more pleasing to witness than the smile of a child who has achieved something after so many dedicated hours of training.
“I’m without doubt indebted to my whole team who coach and operate Arabian – they along with all the girls make me feel very proud and extremely lucky.”