Arabian girls star across the Atlantic

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Coach Alan Armitage admitted he was blown away by the performance of his Arabian team at the ICI Chicago Style meet.

Travelling over the Atlantic for the biggest gymnastics invitational in the world, Alan didn’t expect his team of four gymnasts - Poppy Gibbs, Tionne Cumberbatch, Sophie Fretwell and Molly Harris - to reach the heights they did.

Taking on 500 other girls from all over the world, finishing in the top 15 in any discipline would earn them a medal - and the first game on the balance beam.

There were 79 gymnasts in the girls gym, but incredibly, Poppy came 8th on beam with Molly 11th and Tionne 15th.

Next up was floor where all girls performed really well. But up against the USA rules they were always going to struggle. Poppy finished 12th, the others just behind her but out of the medal places.

In the vault, Tionne picked up a medal in 15th, Poppy in 12th and Sophie in the highest placing of any UK gymnast in 8th place.

And with each of the girls taking home a medal, Alan was over the moon.

“The magnitude of what they have done is remarkable,” he said. “They have beaten so many USA gymnasts in their own back yard,who do nothing else but practice the set routines.

“My girls have had two weeks to try and adapt routines and create new tumbles that would satisfy the rules.

“I gave them little chance of getting in the top 15, but they were pulling out some wonderful routines and to beat so many US gymnasts is unbelievable.

“The girls have given up their half term holiday to work hard at the sport they love, and they deserve the success they have had.”