Pipers Vale gym club dominates

PIPERS Vale Gymnastics Club provided five regional champions at the National Grades Qualification Championships.

PIPERS Vale Gymnastics Club provided five regional champions at the National Grades Qualification Championships.

After India Goodman, Charlotte Mwayi, Chloe Wood, Jessica Howland and Janae Duporte-Clarke all claimed gold medals, the Ipswich-based club's head coach Andy Wood said: “I say every year that we are going from strength to strength but this result shows that every grade we entered we won - and quite convincingly too.

“It is important that this year we try to turn these results into national success. If this is the case then this will be the best year we have ever had at the grades.”

British Gymnastics have introduced seven new grades that go through to the national finals which will be held in Birmingham in April and May.

The grades will now go from nine to five, with grades four to two making up the Elite National Grades from which national squads are selected.

In Grade Eight, there were 14 gymnasts competing from clubs based in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

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Pipers Vale's India Goodman claimed the overall gold medal thanks to a first place on bars, second on vault and third on beam, while club mate Georgia Conway was just 0.450 points behind in the silver medal position following a first on the floor, as well as second places on bars and beam.

In Grade Seven, Charlotte Mwayi was Piper's Vale's only competitor and again had to compete against 14 competitors all looking for a place in the regional team for the national finals.

As usual she rose to the occasion to score a total of 49.70, beat her nearest rival by 0.90 points and take the title after claiming first place on vault, range and conditioning, as well as second places on bars, beam and floor. She too will now also head to Birmingham for the nationals.

In Grade Six, Chloe Wood performed her best routines to date to outscore her nearest rival by almost 2.5 points (49.10) and become regional champion. Wood - who will now represent the region at the nationals - finished first on vault, bars, beam and floor, while she also finished second on range and conditioning.

Compulsory Elite Grade Five is not an official grade of the new system, but was introduced in 2008 as a grade for the better younger gymnasts from the region to compete in.

Pipers Vale's Jessica Howland and Katie Vyse, both aged seven, were not expected to feature in the medals at all and this seemingly was reiterated when two Essex-based gymnasts both started strongly.

Howland continued to work away unnoticed, producing some lovely work on all of the pieces, and came from nowhere to claim the title. Meanwhile, Vyse earned a creditable fourth place overall thanks to second place finishes silver on floor and range and conditioning.

Compulsory Elite Grade Four was a hard fought competition with 18 gymnasts from all over the region looking for a top four place to make the team.

Pipers Vale's Janae Duporte-Clarke was dominant in three disciplines, taking gold on beam, range and floor, to claim the overall gold, while Olivia Boyd's three second place finishes on vault, floor and range helped her to an overall silver medal.

Both Duporte-Clarke and Boyd will now head up the region at the national finals, while Alice Woollatt's creditable seventh place will also see her travel to national finals as an individual.

PIPERS Vale Gymnastics club will have three representatives at the Regional Grade Championships next month.

This year has seen six new regional club grades added to the competition, two of which the Ipswich-based club had entrants in at the Suffolk stage.

In Grade 14, Ipswich's Shamia Adams took the top honours with a score of 62.150. She was closely followed by Georgia Harrold who, took second place with a score of 61.90, while Olivia Protrowski took a creditable fourth place with a score of 60.40.

Adams and Harrold both now go on to the regional finals to be held at the Ipswich Gymnastics Centre next month.

In Grade 13, Eleanor Protrowski was Ipswich's highest placed competitor with a bronze place finish courtesy of a score of 60.650. Club mate Emily Baker was hot on her tail with a score of 60.60 to finish fourth, while Katie Dodman took sixth place with a score of 58.450. Protrowski will now go on to represent the county at the regional finals in April.