After a fantastic few years, 2018 has turned out to be a very unlucky year for the Great British WAG team. Following a very successful start to 2017, Ellie Downie announced over the summer that she would not be competing at Worlds in Montreal because of a longstanding ankle injury which required surgery. Unfortunately, she had further complications and was also unable to compete at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow in August. Her sister Becky has also had a tough time. A fall from the uneven bars at the 2017 European Championships in Cluj resulted in an elbow injury and took her out of competition for over a year. She was selected for the Euros team this year, only to sustain an injury in podium training which forced her to withdraw, with reserve Taeja James stepping in to take her place.
Claudia Fragapane finished 2017 on a high, with her first Worlds medal on floor, and gymnastics fans around the world were excited to see what she had in mind for 2018. Unfortunately, Claudia sustained an Achilles tear while training at her home gym just days before the British Championships. Her rehab and training seem to be going well and she has got quite a few of her skills back, but she will be unable to compete until at least early 2019. Amy Tinkler initially seemed to be escaping the bad luck affecting her teammates, having a fantastic British Championships and seemingly going from strength to strength, but she then tore some ankle ligaments while warming up for the Birmingham World Cup in March, which took her out of the Commonwealth Games, Europeans and Worlds. Amy was originally expected to be out for just a few months, but she recently informed her fans that she required a second operation to remove scar tissue and therefore will be out of competition and training for longer than previously thought. No estimated return date has been given as yet.
In the last few weeks, even more of Great Britain’s top gymnasts have been struck down with injuries, with Taeja James suffering a broken finger and Lucy Stanhope dealing with an unspecified injury which has taken her out of contention for Worlds in Doha, where she was expected to be the alternate.
So who can we expect to see at this year’s Worlds? Both Ellie and Becky Downie have now been cleared to compete and have been selected to participate. This will be the first major competition for the sisters in quite some time, following their appearance at the Paris World Challenge Cup in September. Kelly Simm, Alice Kinsella and Georgia-Mae Fenton are also on the team, following their successful performances at the European Championships in August. The reserve is now expected to be Emily Thomas of Clwb Cymru Caerdydd, who showed us some impressive routines at the British Championships and Commonwealth Games this year.
Best of luck to the gymnasts competing next week and we hope to see the others back soon!