Great Britain in Podium Training

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The British team once again comes into the World Championships with a chance to find themselves breaching the big four nations who have dominated the sport in the past decade…if they hit.

Great Britain has an immensely talented team this year, with the Downie sisters Ellie and Becky – who made a huge impression at European Championships in addition to all past accolades – headlining a group that also includes Worlds finalists, European medalists, the national champion, and a Universiade champion.

Ellie, an all-around medalist at European Championships this spring, recently earned the program’s highest all-around score in history and is looking to qualify in the top ten this weekend. With a big and clean DTY vault, she leads the way there, and she also has done some great work on bars this year, including an awesome front toe-on half to Maloney to Tkachev opening sequence. Her toe full to piked Tkachev to pak is looking great, and she’s also managing a van Leeuwen and big double layout dismount, which she nailed in training.

Ellie was nearly the only Brit to hit beam in what was a shockingly disastrous session. Her punch front and standing arabian were great to start, and there were slight wobbles on her jump series, double pirouette, and bhs loso, though nothing she couldn’t control. Her 2.5 dismount was nearly stuck, and it’s basically the kind of beam routine GB has been searching for since the dawn of time. On floor, she is basically the Aly Raisman of her nation with her two opening passes – a 1.5 through to double arabian that she stumbled back a bit, and a piked double Arabian – and then she went on to hit a 2.5 to punch front to stag and a double pike with no major issues. She is gunning for a huge finish in qualifications and I can’t wait to see her make it happen.

Older sister Becky is in Glasgow for her bars and beam, hoping this year to finally make a World bars medal happen after so many years of getting close. On bars, she has a hop to toe front half to Chow to a Shang, which is I believe is a new skill for her. She missed it in training so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for it to happen during the meet, though she did hit her toe full to Downie to pak and then her Maloney to Hindorff, equally impressive. Honestly, these combinations! They’re killer. Oh, and she stuck her full-in.

She won a Euros medal on beam, and while I’m not sure she can contend for the final on this event in a much deeper field, she still has a pretty great routine, with a punch front, side aerial, full Y turn (she had a big check in training), full turn to front aerial (a bit slow and possibly not credited), side somi, and switch ring, though she stuck to a timer dismount in the routine we saw.

Amy Tinkler is likely the next biggest all-around hopeful after the younger Downie. She’s another with a great DTY, and her bars look much improved, featuring a clean toe full to Maloney to pak, van Leeuwen, brand new Markelov, and full-out dismount, which should get her a great score.

She did have a little casualty on beam, putting her hands down on her tour jete half, though hit her awesome gainer layout to loso, probably the most unique flight series at Worlds. She also had no problem with her front aerial, though I believe missed the connection into her jumps, and she hit the remainder of her skills, including a great triple full dismount. On floor, her tumbling ability was ambitious but she fell a bit short on her opening double double and double layout passes. She had a big smile on her face throughout the entirety of her routine, however, and hit her 1.5 to 2.5 and double pike well to finish.

Claudia Fragapane is competing everything but bars, meaning there will be no all-around final in her near future. I didn’t see her beam, but we did get views of her vaults and floor. On vault she has a DTY (a bit low and messy) and a Lopez (also a bit messy), and I doubt it’ll be enough for the final in this year’s deep field.

On floor she showed a routine in training with a full-twisting double layout that was hit, but I have no idea HOW. Her arms were SO bent coming out of the back handspring, she got almost no air, and yet she still landed it without it looking short, so good for her! But yikes. I got scared for a moment. She did sit her double arabian, however, which was actually a bit funny because she does a jump down to the floor right out of this tumbling pass, so she basically fell and then had to get up just to throw herself back down to the floor. Poor thing looked so defeated! She did hit a rather great triple full however, and then finished with a powerful double layout (yes, finished with one) so she’s fully redeemed for that fall in my eyes.

Ruby Harrold is freshly back from injury and doing all four events, though I think it would take a lot for her to challenge for the all-around final. She has only been doing fulls on vault so far (but apparently did a DTY in training), and while her bars are still great, they’re not quite what they were a year ago, back when she made the event final. Her Maloney to Bhardwaj is excellent, however, her Zuchhold is awesome as usual, and she stuck her double front cold, so in any case she should still be a big help to the team.

I believe she had a fall on beam, though I didn’t see that routine, and she hit her double arabian, front double full, 1.5 to front full, and double tuck on floor. Her tumbling is incredibly messy but it’s looking as though she’ll be the leadoff there, with the score they’ll hope to drop.

Last but not least is Kelly Simm, who will compete everywhere but beam. She is mostly in leadoff spots, so I’m not sure we’ll see anything from her in team finals, but I think her goal in Glasgow is to get the inbar piked Tkachev named for her…though with Germany’s Sophie Scheder also doing the skill, it’s likely not going to happen, as two gymnasts doing the same skill in the same year can’t have it named.

Simm actually looked like one of the strongest on floor, with a clean double layout, solid whip to full-in, 1.5 through to double tuck, and a great double pike to finish. I could definitely see her in the team final on this event if she hits in qualifications the way she did in training.

Overall, Great Britain has a lot of shining moments but also a lot of cleanup. It’s a very strong team, but if they’re going to be inconsistent and count the falls and mistakes they made in podium training, I can definitely see a slightly weaker team sneaking in above them. I wouldn’t go out and say their team finals spot is threatened, especially as competing in front of a home crowd in Glasgow should be major motivation. It worked at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and I could see them really thriving under similar circumstances in their performance tomorrow.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

2 thoughts on “Great Britain in Podium Training

  1. I don’t think Claudia is down for two vaults on the start list… I think Ellie is and maybe Kelly but I also could be remembering wrong!

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