British Championships are back, with the senior and junior men set to compete in Cardiff tomorrow and Sunday in a competition that will both determine the national champions as well as begin the selection process for the worlds team.
While none of the Olympic team members will compete this weekend, alternate Jake Jarman is on the list, and should be one of the must-watch athletes. Jarman, who has big difficulty on floor and vault, finished 10th all-around at European Championships this year, the best among the Brits. He was the junior national all-around and vault champion in 2019, and he most recently competed at the Koper Challenge Cup last weekend, but missed out on both the floor and vault finals, so he’ll need to aim for consistency in Cardiff if he wants to head to Kitakyushu next month.
The meet will see the return of 2016 Olympian and 2018 national all-around champion Brinn Bevan, who hasn’t participated in any competitions since 2019, shortly after he switched his allegiance from England to Wales. Though Bevan participated at the Olympic trials this year, he suffered a tibia fracture at the final trial that took him out of contention, so now world championships and next year’s Commonwealth Games, where he’ll be expected to lead the Welsh team, will be the first steps on his journey to making the Olympic team in 2024.
Other top contenders in Cardiff include 2018 Commonwealth Games rings champion Courtney Tulloch, who performed well on both rings and vault in Koper last weekend, 2018 European floor champion Dominick Cunningham, and talented all-arounder and pommel horse worker Joshua Nathan, whose last big win came at the Paris Challenge Cup in 2019 where he won gold on the horse.
I’m also excited to see what kind of routines we’ll get from Hayden Skinner on floor, Joe Cemlyn-Jones on high bar, and Scotland’s standout Frank Baines, who most recently won the p-bars title at the Koper Challenge Cup in 2019 after nearly sweeping the Scottish Championships that year.
This meet will also be the time to shine for several of the British men’s program’s younger up-and-coming athletes, including 2019 national all-around bronze medalist Jamie Lewis, 2018 Youth Olympic Games all-around, floor, rings, and p-bars finalist Adam Tobin, 2019 junior world championships teammates Sam Mostowfi and Luke Whitehouse, and more of 2019’s strongest juniors like Euan Cox and Raekwon Baptiste.
Finally, we’ll also see Sam Oldham, the youngest member of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic men’s team, in competition again for the first time since national championships in 2019, where he finished eighth all-around in addition to making the pommels, rings, and p-bars finals. Oldham missed out on the Rio Games and has since not been at top strength, though I’m intrigued to see how he looks now, especially on high bar.
The British women will not have a national championships until the end of November, but are instead doing a series of trial meets going into world championships. The first trial was held over last weekend, featuring all-around performances from Georgia-Mae Fenton and first-year senior Ruby Stacey, while Becky Downie competed bars and beam, and Taeja James competed beam and floor.
Fenton had the strongest overall performances, earning all-around scores of 53.400 and 53.350, with the best bar routines both days, including a 14.075 with a 5.8 D score, and a 14.050 with a 5.7 D score. She performed a Yurchenko double on day one, earning a 14.325, though stuck to a full on day two, and she had the top scores on floor both days, though her day one routine included a fall.
Downie earned scores of 13.175 (6.2 D) and 11.725 (5.2 D, 0.3 penalty) on bars, so she obviously wasn’t at a hundred percent there, and though she had a miss on beam on day one, her score of 13.275 was the best on day two. Stacey earned a 49.975 all-around on the first day of competition, with a 13.425 for her Yurchenko full and a 13.175 on bars her strongest scores, though she only competed bars on day two, earning a 12.725. James, meanwhile, scored in the 11s on three of her routines, with a 12.4 for her day two floor the top score she managed.
The men’s championships will begin with the Under 16s competing on Saturday, September 11, while the Under 18s and the seniors will compete on Sunday, September 12. To follow the meet, download the BG Score app for live scores and judge cam videos.
Article by Lauren Hopkins