ARABIAN Gymnastics Club’s finest young members competed in the 2011 National Autumn Gymnastic competition held near Blackpool and did their city proud with an excellent return of medals.
With county and regional champions in action, the club knew they had a great chance against excellent opposition, with youngsters from Manchester and further afield than Milton Keynes taking part.
And they were right to be confident as they returned home with a superb haul of 33 medals between the 16 Arabian girls.
In round one, eight year-old Lara Moffat was the youngest to compete and she put on a credible display coming 4th on bars and finishing in 9th place overall.
In the 11 years and older group, Casey Hodges took three medals, gold on floor, silver on bars and bronze on vault, giving her overall 2nd place. Sophie Clarke also won medals with silver on vault and two bronzes for her floor and beam to finish 4th overall, while Faye Treadwell finished 6th overall after winning gold on vault.
The higher ability level in the event saw the club enter 12 gymnasts, hoping they would add to the medals gained by their team-mates earlier in the day.
Nine year-old Millie Barnes came out shining as she won gold for her balance beam routine, and took bronze on floor and bars to finish in 2nd overall. Sharing the podium with her was Katie Wood who came 3rd overall after winning silvers on vault and beam.
Molly Harris won gold on bars and silver on the vault, while Phoebe Copestake, the youngest member to take part at the age of eight, won bronze on vault. Tamzin Hill and Becky Matcham fell short of winning medals, but both produced good displays and will be back again next year.
The next level of the competition saw Tionne Cumberbatch take 1st place after winning gold on beam, and silver on vault and bars to become National champion.
Poppy Gibbs came overall 3rd, joining her team-mate on the final rostrum, but individually she took more golds than any other gymnast, winning gold on both vault and floor, plus sliver on the beam.
Sophie Fretwell finished 5th overall, but was a gold medallist on bars and took two bronze places on vault and beam. A slip in her tumble run on floor was brilliantly saved, but it nevertheless cost her two whole marks and this stopped her clear chance of being in the top three. Louisa Cuthbert came 4th overall and picked up bronze on the bars.
In the eldest section Arabian had two top regional champions representing the club in Bex Whatmore and Ellie Hewitt. Bex took gold on every piece apart from beam where she took bronze, while Ellie won the other gold up for grabs on beam, plus silver on floor and bronze on bars.
Bex was crowned National champion to add to her Southern England regional title, while Ellie finished as runners up.