Free gymnastics coaching pays off as youngsters shine

The West Sussex West School Sport Partnership has been offering free gymnastics coaching support in primary schools to train a team of novice gymnasts.

Coach Carina Brown spent weeks prepared the excited and nervous youngsters for competitions at Chichester High School for Girls.

Events for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6 were held in consecutive weeks. All students are judged in a set floor routine, body management routine and vault.

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The top six scores from each team go towards a team total across the three disciplines.

The competitions were organised by Gemma Eldridge, Chichester High School for Girls school sport co-ordinator, with her team of elite gymnasts from the school, who judged the competitions.

Leaders were prepared for their judging duties by Brown and more than 150 new gymnasts were introduced to the format.

Brown said: “It’s been great to see students new to gymnastics so excited about this competition, even though they were nervous beforehand.”

Kate Smith, partnership development manager, added: “We want students to enjoy themselves and do their best. We are hopeful many will now join local gym clubs to develop their talents further.”

Stephanie Smith, Sussex gymnastics development officer, said: “This was best attended and well-organised event I’ve seen so far in Sussex. The standard was great.”

There were some fantastic individual performances from North Mundham School pupils, with Annie Gibson scoring 9.9/10 in the Year 3/4 vault and Shannon Mouland scoring 9.9 in the Year 5/6 floor routine.

But Karis Pullen had exceptional vault and body management scores in the Year 5/6 competition, which helped lead Edward Bryant School to the win with a total score of 164.50. Parklands School were second with 157.30 and Fishbourne School third with 155.30.

In the Year 3/4 competition, Edward Bryant won with 164.40 points. Fishbourne were hot on their heels in second place with 162.70. Georgina Price (Parklands School) had exceptional performances in the floor and body management routines, which helped secure third place for the school with 157.80.

Edward Bryant will represent West Sussex West in the Sussex finals in May at Uckfield Gym Club in both age groups. Congratulations go to Edward Bryant, Fishbourne, Parklands, North Mundham, St Philips, The March, Tangmere and Seal primary schools for taking part.