Due Head To English Qualfiers

The weekend saw Twizzlers for the first time enter the English Gymnastics Championships, there are 2 qualifying events over the year where they compete for points in order to qualify for the finals later in the year.

This is a significant achievement for the club’s progress not only to have 2 of our own competing but as coaches to be able to learn so much from the event.

With 5 family members & 3 coaches making the journey to travel to Telford to support both Alex & Tom it made for a very enjoyable weekend. Travelling up on Friday there was an impromptu call to meet for dinner… something Twizzlers normally tries to organise at events to bring everyone including parents together.

These dinners are more about chilling and relaxing and being more informal rather than talking about what is about to come and gymnastics related. Even with both having both competed at Inter-Regional finals between them bringing home Gold, Silver & Bronze, as well as taking part in several League Finals this was still a new competition with different requirements to meet. What can also be seen is the support not only by parents but those within the squads who are there to support each other… something we are looking to utilise more next year.

Twizzlers also now has a very solid tradition which we refer to as “B” Day with our very own Coach Angie leading the celebrations with a single candle. Although the meal was not planned, she managed to ensure that this tradition was kept going by the blowing out of a single candle!

The event sees mainly the larger clubs that don’t normally compete at the Inter-Regional level and only compete in League, English & FIG events. Clubs travel from far and wide across England to compete against each other and with the standard higher than what Twizzlers are used to both boys went in with no expectations but to use this as a learning experience.

The coaches also used this as information gathering exercise to see what the standards are like at other levels, requirements needed and to try and gauge what Twizzlers needs to work on in regard to progression if we have the interest in people to compete at this level.

With everyone there supporting for the first flight of the day on the DMT in the 17+ years, Tom found himself competing against only 3 others one of which pipped him the previous weekend in Cardiff Tom finished his first 2 passes in 1st Place… Normally there would be more people competing and the top 8 would go into a 3rd pass for a top 4 place before a final pass to decide medals. This then required a rethink of what skills to then put in as the 3rd pass would now be a final for a medal.

Consistency and correct landings are the key to this event, however the bigger the skills the higher the point value, so it was a balance of both that was agreed upon between Tom and his Coach Helen.

Tom was then drawn last to compete. With the first 3 having completed the passes it was down to Tom with again the ask was just to make a clean pass however Tom went out, nailed his pass without a wobble and walked away with a well-deserved gold medal. A magnificent result for both Tom & Twizzlers.

3rd Flight of the day saw Alex competing in the 13-14 years. This group was much bigger with 20 competing in 2 separate flights. Again, no expectations and the ask were to make 2 clean routines and complete. After his Set Alex was sitting in a good position just behind his London teammate from 2022 in 6th place. For his Vol again all the ask was to complete for only the 2nd time of doing so his routine in a competition cleanly. Given full rain to push himself Alex went out and made it through his 10 moves to a huge cheer from the supporting Twizzlers crowd… The jump was good enough to put him into 3rd temporarily knowing there was a second flight to come.

4th Flight included the second group in Alex age group seemed to last an age. We knew that after the Set routines positions wouldn’t change until the Vol routines began. Once they started there was some frantic refreshing of the live score’s website and with a further 8 jumping would only be a matter of time. Alex slipped to 4th before the final 2 competitors jumped…  Alex would end up in 5th with the smallest of margins between him and a medal place. It didn’t matter though he went out and did what was asked taking away another personal improvement and knowing he can compete at that level comfortably.

As many of those parents who have competed before events running on time is often joked about and although the rule is events can run up to 1 hour ahead. There was an air of excitement as announcements with updating timings were being broadcast across the arena with Tom in Flight 6 hearing that his flight was now the whole hour earlier meaning for parents an earlier drive home than expected… The excitement however was short lived as a serious technical issue made the celebrations short lived and delay the events past even his original starting time. With Tom used to these kinds of delays he was already prepared for the afternoon.

Like Alex earlier the ask from Twizzlers was to go through 2 clean routines and do his best. With only 12 in his group Tom completed his Set Routine to finish in 7th place with like everything in this sport the smallest of margins separating him from top 3. His Vol routine again made through clean, but such was the competition pushed Tom down slightly in the final rankings. 9th overall but like Alex had added a new move into his routine with this the first time competing with it included was an excellent achievement.

With the experience completed and lessons learnt by both gymnasts and coaches we now move onto our next competition which will be the Inter-Regional Finals for which both Tom & Alex are representing London in both DMT & Trampoline as part of Team London