Pipers Vale dominate gym championships

PIPERS Vale Gymnastics Club's top young gymnasts raised the bar once again with complete domination of the County Level Championships.

Stuart Watson

PIPERS Vale Gymnastics Club's top young gymnasts raised the bar once again with complete domination of the County Level Championships.

In a sensational display by the Ipswich-based club, a Pipers Vale gymnast claimed gold in all six age categories, while many more secured second and third spots behind their team mates.

And with the top four gymnasts in each age group qualifying for the Regional Championships, it means Pipers Vale will have no fewer than eight members represented in the next stage of competition.

“Every year I am quoted as saying that this is the best year ever,” said Pipers Vale Head Coach Andy Wood. “But I'm going to have to say it again because, across the board, the club has never had a result quite like this where, in every age group, we have won gold and also taken the other places as well.

“This just goes to show that the coaches, gymnasts and the club in general keeps on going from strength to strength.”

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The competition - known fully as the County In and Out of Age Voluntary Championships - is the first rung on a ladder that could ultimately lead to the British Age Group Championships.

The Championships started with the In Age Pre Level Four category which, due to competitors being eight-years-old, was the only section which did not provide a route through to the regionals.

Nevertheless the competition still provided a useful first experience of competition for three of Pipers Vale's young gymnasts.

Janae Duporte-Clarke, Olivia Boyd and Alice Wollat all took part for the club and set a standard for their older team mates by completing a clean sweep of the medals - Duporte-Clarke claiming gold, Boyd silver and Wollat bronze.

Following their younger team mates' lead, Pipers Vale's nine-year-old In Age Level Four gymnasts also managed to claim a one-tow-three placing.

Georgia Conway, Kaycee Child and India Goodman finished in the top three spots respectively and will all now go on to the Regional Finals.

Next was the Out of Age Level Four categories where, in the 10-11 years section, Rebecca Longley excelled in her first ever competition at this level by going completely clean over four pieces to claim gold.

In the 14 years and over category, Tuscany Bullock again went clean, a particularly good performance on vault helping her to also claim the gold medal and, along with Longley, another place for Pipers Vale in the Regional Finals.

Pipers Vale are particularly strong at In Age Level Three at present and 10-year-olds Molly Taylor and Charlotte Mwayi did not disappoint yet again.

Taylor, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first ever gymnast to win the National Compulsory Championships at Level Three and Four in successive years, again showed some fantastic standards of difficulty on bars, beam and floor for such a young gymnast.

The results mirrored the performances with Taylor taking gold and Mwayi just behind her in second. This also means that the pair will go through to the Regional Finals and have a shot at making the National Championships.

The final category was the In Age Level Two where 11-year-old Alice Foster managed to pull of some spectacularly hard routines for her age. A slip on the bar could not deny her the title meaning that she too will progress to the Regional Finals.

PIPERS Vale's recreational gymnasts proved that the club has strength in depth across all levels of competitors with an impressive set of performances at the County Recreational Qualifiers.

The competition is designed for lower level gymnasts that train between two and four hours a week, with the top six in each age category going through a regional final in November.

Of the 26 gymnasts that Pipers Vale entered into the competition, 16 progressed to the next round meaning that the Ipswich-based club will have more representatives than any other club in the county.

Pipers Vale claimed all six of the qualifying spots in the 8-10 years age group through Sophie Rennison, Koren Harper, Imogen Oliver-Beckett, Esther Noble, Lauren McNamee and Poppy Lloyd.

It was the same story in the 11-12 age group with Anna Pryke, Eleanor Rhodes, Jenna Milne, Abigail Laflin, Tara Schafer, Georgia Peckham-Driver and Chloe Whitman all making the regional final.

In the 13+ age group, Mollie Burch, Beth Welton, Rebecca Robinson, Sam Milne, Alice Carter all claimed qualifying spots.

Head Coach Andy Wood said: “Credit has to go to Rebecca Head, Laura Coates, Sophie Madder, Sophie Stuart and Jenny Kuijpers, the personal coaches of the gymnasts, who all worked very hard to achieve this amazing result.”

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