Louis Smith moved a step closer to Rio selection following an impressive silver medal on pommel horseat the English Gymnastics Championships, held at Loughborough University over the weekend. Smith scored 15.354 for a complex but well executed routine, but was beaten by current World Champion Max Whitlock of South Essex, who posted a 15.8. The talented duo are two of the best pommel horse workers in the world, and their performances are sure to impress the GB selectors who must choose a team of 5 for the Games in August.
The Huntingdon Club was well represented at the event, with 13 boys and 4 girls competing amongst over 200 of the best English gymnasts across all age groups. In the Under 12 boys category Kieron Burch finished 10th all around, and took a silver medal for a well executed somersaulting vault. Clubmate Ryan Cirino also worked well across 6 apparatus, and took a bronze medal on Parallel Bars. They were joined by Niall Hooton, Joshua Papworth, and Bradley Cooper who gained valuable experience in a high class field.
In the girls section Elizabeth McFarlane performed securely in the Espoir event, with Teegan Barnes and Meghan Morris showing good form in the junior category. Lottie Smith had a great competition in the senior event, finishing 6th all around and winning the Max Sime Trophy for Artistry- an honorary award for the gymnast deemed to show best form and execution throughout the competition. She now prepares to compete with the best gymnasts in the Country at the British Championship in Liverpool next month.
Christian Norman was the sole Huntingdon gymnast in the under 14 category, finishing a creditable 12th all around and 5th on his best piece- Pommel Horse. National Squad member Jake Jarman showed good style in the under 16 event, finishing in the top 6 all around, and coming 5th on rings and horizontal bar.
Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings now have competitions in Qatar and Germany before heading to Liverpool for the British Championships, which will form the main selection for the European Championships in Switzerland in May. Head Coach Paul Hall was pleased with the results from a busy weekend:
'It was great to see 17 Huntingdon gymnast's working at the English Championships this weekend, and I'm encouraged by some quality performances from some of our younger members and am pleased that Louis is preparing well for what could well be a third Olympic Games and a chance for that elusive gold medal'.