Lilly's in the pink

GYMNASTICS: Talented Lilly Black is among the top three nine-year-old gymnasts in the country after more success for the Ipswich-based Piper's Vale club.


TALENTED Lilly Black is among the top three nine-year-old gymnasts in the country after more success for the Ipswich-based Piper's Vale club.

Lilly was one of four Piper's Vale prospects who took part in the national age group championships held at Guildford.

This competition is to determine the voluntary age group winners and the overall title – where totals of the grades held earlier this year are combined with the voluntary scores to give an over all national champion.

There were three age groups – nine years, ten years and 11 years.

The nine year age group was up first and some very stylish gymnastics were performed from such young children in the first round.

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Lilly and club-mate Charlotte Cattermole were in the four-strong East region team and the girls looked very strong in warm up.

Charlotte went clean on bars with a steady routine and her score of 6.95 was the third highest of the day.

Lilly then performed the best bar routine of her life, her 7.225 the second highest of the competition.

Both girls had falls on the beam but still scored reasonably high marks.

And Lilly and Charlotte both scored well on the floor and vault exercises.

The East region were declared runners-up, giving Lilly and Charlotte their first national voluntary medals.

Charlotte was then named as sixth in the individual placings while Lilly took fourth spot.

However, the next presentation – for the overall titles – was the most important as it gives the gymnasts their national ranking for the year.

Charlotte had achieved fifth position and a national ranking of fifth while Lilly took third place and the bronze medal.

"This is the highest position we have ever had gymnasts at this level," said Piper's Vale head coach Andy Wood.

"And because of their performances both gymnasts now have booked a place at the national trials in December."

"The club just keeps going from strength to strength," he added.

The next competition was for the ten-year-olds and Piper's Vale had Amber Russell and Yasmin Cook representing the East and competing individually for the club.

The girls were in a really tough age group at this competition.

They started on beam and Amber was first up and went clean and scored quite highly while Yasmin had one fall but still scored well.

Next was floor and Amber did a fantastic floor performance to earn a very high score of 8.05. Yasmin also produced a good floor exercise, scoring 7.50.

Next was vault and Amber and Yasmin scored well before both girls went clean on bars.

"Both girls scored higher than in the regional championships and we couldn't have asked more from them the field was so strong," said Wood.

"I have never seen such young gymnasts perform with such maturity our girls did really well."

The team finished sixth while Amber and Yasmin taking 12th and 16th places respectively putting both girls into the top 20.

Amber did not compete in the grade due to injury but Yasmin achieved a creditable 15th spot.

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