Emma Williams of Great Britain.
Emma Williams of Great Britain.

FOLLOWING THE trial at Lilleshall, the British women’s team has been named for the World Artistic Championships in Ghent, Belgium (October 28 – November 4). The team comprises Holly Murdock, Melissa Wilcox, Nicola Willis, Elizabeth Tweddle, Kathy Lennon and Emma Williams, with Caroline Gilbert the travelling reserve.

Adrian Stan, Technical Director for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, commented: “This is a new team in a transitional period of time between two Olympic Games with yet unfulfilled potential, but with a very high rate of progression. Affected initially by some injuries, the team recovered very well and they are now on their way to peak form. Their consistency and some difficult competitive routines are factors for maintaining the positions previously achieved (11th place at the 1999 World Championships and 10th place at the 2000 Olympic Games).”

One gymnast who won’t be travelling to Ghent however is Lee McDermott who has been forced to withdraw from the men’s team after injuring himself during training in New Zealand. Cuong Thoong has been nominated as his replacement. The final team will be decided at the end of preparation training.

MEANWHILE BRITISH GYMNASTICS has also named the Great Britain team for the 24th World Rhythmic Gymnastics in Madrid, Spain later this month (October 18-21).

Rebecca Jose, the 1999 and 2000 British Senior Champion, leads the team and is the only member who competed at the last World Championships in Osaka two years ago. She is joined by 16-year-old Hannah McKibbin, twice the British Junior Champion and runner-up to Jose in the senior competition last year. The trio is completed by 15-year-old newcomer Jacqueline Steinke. Living in Belgium, Steinke trains with renowned former Czech gymnast Jana Vessela. Caroline Jackson will also travel with the team as reserve.

National Coach Nadia Alexandrova is pleased with the team’s composition: “This is one of the most talented British Rhythmic Gymnastics Teams ever and we hope to improve our World ranking in Madrid. With many nations not being able to cope with the very high requirements of the new Code of Points, and failing to even send full teams in Spain, we hope that all our gymnasts will show their best and have fluent performances.”