ARABIAN gymnasts performed very well in the first ever National Rainbow competition, winning three Challenge Cups and returning with two overall champions in Lucy Johnston and Bex Whatmore.
The new competition saw seven different counties represented, with the furthest being Devon, and is the only event in the UK where only floor and beam are competed.
Level five saw Ellie Keely earn the highest place of overall 3rd place with bronze medal for her beam and a respectable 5th for her floor which she learned in the last two weeks with Wendy Kitching. She was also awarded the Challenge Cup for her excellent double flicks on beam.
Emily Kettle took 5th place for her beam routine, and 10th for her floor to give her a respectable overall place of 7th.
Karen McEvaddy continued her excellent form with 7th place on beam and on floor she came 9th, for an overall finish of 8th place.
Lara Moffat managed a 7th place finish on floor which was the 2nd highest out of the Arabian girls, but just couldn’t recover from her beam display which is normally solid.
Katie Wood was narrowly pipped to top spot by Aliyah Schltz from Essex in the level four junior category. Her 2nd place overall came with a silver for her beam and a 4th place for her floor routines.
Team-mate Molly Harris was a whisker away from her as she finished 4th on beam and 3rd on floor, coming overall 3rd just four tenths behind Katie.
Hot on the heels of Molly were Phoebe Copestake and Millie Barnes. Phoebe’s final position of 4th came after bronze on beam and a few wobbles on floor which prevented her from brekaing into the top three.
Millie came 8th on beam as a fall cost her a medal, but she made up for it with a cracking performance for silver on floor – making her the club’s highest placed youngster on that apparatus, just two tenths behind Phoebe as she finished 5th overall. She was awarded the Challenge Cup for her bravery on beam.
Tamzin Hill was 5th for her beam display, but struggled to gain the score on floor she needed to gain an overall medal, despite a good effort as she finished 7th overall and only two tenths from a medal position.
Meanwhile, Becky Matcham was out of the medals on the day as the field was just a tad strong for her.
Lucy Johnston had a good day in the level four senior category by becoming overall Rainbow Challenge Cup champion by taking silver on the beam and gold on floor.
It was the second competition in a row that she has won the floor event by some margin.
Sophie Fretwell should have beaten Lucy on floor as her routine was electric but a big step after each tumble cost her points and that took her opportunity away from her as she placed 5th on beam and 6th on floor to leave her 5th overall.
Casey Hodges came 7th overall, but would have medalled on floor had she not slipped right at the end.
Natasha Dagois continued her comeback with a respected 6th place, just missing out on a medal and equalled Sophie’s result on floor with 6th place and 8th on beam.
Hannah Bond – Arabian’s queen of beam – had a very unusual off day, but took silver on the floor for an overall finish of 8th place.
Louisa Cuthbert cane 11th overall with her highlight being a 9th place finish on floor
Tionne Cumberbatch, who has two bad knees due to growth plate issues, was only able to perform beam and she did well to claim 5th place out of the 12 gymnasts. She was awarded the Challenge Cup for being so brave and trying.
Naomi Smith was moved up to level three junior to see how she coped up against some big guns. She is usually a level four gymnast but she did rather well with 4th on beam and 5th on floor, coming 4th overall.
Bex Whatmore was the Rainbow Challenge Cup champion at level two, with gold on both floor and beam in a display of great authority as she was run close by a rival from Essex.
Head coach Alan Armitage said: “Not every gymnast can win, but boy they all nearly did!
“Somersaulting on a four inch wide balance beam and twisting and turning in their floor exercises made it wonderful to witness. They represented the city brilliantly.”