The 2019 Senior English Championships took place in Ilford, Essex on Saturday 2nd March, with a huge number of gymnasts on the start list. The GB national team members were scheduled to compete in the afternoon session, but there were some big names in the morning, too, with Danusia Francis, Jessica Castles and Chiara Bunce (Heathrow Gymnastics Club, but competing internationally for Jamaica, Sweden and Slovakia, respectively) on the start list. With English gymnastics being at an all-time high, the venue was packed out even early on, with people having arrived long before the doors opened to claim seats and support friends and family.
Following an exciting morning session, the afternoon session was the real draw, with Claudia Fragapane (Bristol Hawks) set to return to competition after a year out with an Achilles tear and Gabby Jupp (Sapphire) scheduled to compete at this event for the first time since 2012, following years of battling injuries, including multiple ACL tears. Also on the WAG start list were Alice Kinsella (Park Wrekin), Kelly Simm (Dynamo), Georgia-Mae Fenton (East London), Ellie Downie (Notts), Taeja James (City of Birmingham), and Amelie Morgan and Phoebe Jakubczyk (The Academy). Fragapane looked good in warm-up, but it soon became apparent that she was suffering from some kind of minor injury or niggle, and she pulled out of the competition shortly before it began. Jupp also had a disappointing day, with falls on both beam and bars, but her skills looked very solid and the mistakes easily fixable. Taeja James had a scary fall from beam, but appeared to be fine, opting not to compete vault or floor as she is coming back from injury. Georgia-Mae Fenton competed a stunning bars routine packed with difficulty, but an unfortunate fall meant that she didn’t medal. However, she gave an excellent performance on floor and became this year’s floor champion. City of Manchester’s Ellee Cheetham won vault with a 13.200, Ellie Downie claimed gold on bars, finishing a strong set with a double layout dismount, and Amelie Morgan had the highest beam score of the day, with 13.650. New senior Morgan also became the 2019 all around champion with a score of 55.250 and is definitely living up to the high expectations she set as a junior.
The next major competition for these gymnasts will be the British Championships, held next weekend in Liverpool.