Though the British national team is generally dominated by the English ladies, a lot of big talent is brewing over in the countries of Scotland and Wales that should spice things up in the next quad.
Of the top six juniors to finish at British Championships last year, three were from the northern and western chunks of the island, with Maisie Methuen and Latalia Bevan from Wales and Louise McColgan from Scotland. While they aren’t old enough to contend with the seniors just yet, both Methuen and Bevan already have great international experience under their belts and all three could be major contributors on the British team in the future.
This weekend, Methuen – last year’s Welsh junior champion and British silver all-around medalist who scored big international assignments at Junior Japan and the European Youth Olympic Festival – and Bevan – who at 14 became the Northern European champion in a field that included several worlds team members – will compete at Welsh Championships in Cardiff. In addition to their individual accolades, Methuen and Bevan led the Welsh team in a riveting defeat of the English juniors at the 2015 Sainsbury’s School Games. Meanwhile, McColgan, whose experience is mostly domestic aside from a turn at Northern Europeans last year, will hope to once again sweep the junior titles at the Scottish Championships in Perth.
These young gymnasts will be joined by several senior stars in both fields, with last year’s champion 21-year-old Amy Regan hoping to defend her title against the young Erin McLachlan in Scotland while Commonwealth bronze medalists Raer Theaker and Georgina Hockenhull will run the show in Wales.
The Welsh will also see 2015 British Challenge Cup champion Hana Davies in her first year as a senior as well as 2015 espoir champion Jolie Ruckley in her junior debut. Davies was fifth as a junior last year but is expected to show big improvements as she enters the senior ranks, while Ruckley gained valuable international experience at the Olympic Hopes Cup, where she was seventh all-around, just a tenth behind Bevan. Ruckley was also hot on Bevan’s tail at the Northern European Championships, where she defeated several Welsh seniors – including Theaker and Rebecca Moore – in the all-around.
In addition to the national competitors, international gymnasts from Ireland and Sweden are also set to attend as guest competitors in Scotland as both continue their preparation for the Olympic test event coming this April.
The women will begin competition at the Scottish Championships this Saturday February 27 with the all-around final and will contest apparatus titles on Sunday the 28th. At the Welsh Championships, the women are set to compete only on the 28th. We’ll update the coverage guides linked above with live coverage information as we get it.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photo thanks to Welsh Gymnastics