Top gymnastics gems sparkle with Sapphire

1/10/2011'The Sapphire gymnastics team at Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.  From left, Niamh Ryan, 15,'Gappy Jupp, 14, Elena Thompson,14,and Stephanie Pond, eight.

1/10/2011'The Sapphire gymnastics team at Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead on Saturday. From left, Niamh Ryan, 15,'Gappy Jupp, 14, Elena Thompson,14,and Stephanie Pond, eight.

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Gymnastics

COMPETITORS and spectators enjoyed a weekend of entertainment, excitement and top-class gymnastics at the Sapphire Invitational Competition at Sportspace Hemel.

1/10/2011'The Sapphire gymnastics team at Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.  From left, Niamh Ryan, 15,'Gappy Jupp, 14, Elena Thompson,14,and Stephanie Pond, eight.

1/10/2011'The Sapphire gymnastics team at Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead on Saturday. From left, Niamh Ryan, 15,'Gappy Jupp, 14, Elena Thompson,14,and Stephanie Pond, eight.

Gymnasts from Levels 2, 3, 4 and FIG (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique) represented clubs from across Britain in what was a superb showcase of sporting excellence.

On Friday, club and county teams from as far away as Yorkshire, west Wales and Somerset took part in the Level 4 event – with Sapphire also entering three teams of their own.

The most successful of the hosts’ representatives were the Sapphire Gems – Charlotte Mitchell, Tilly Hedges, Arwen Rich and Hallie Copperwheat – who recorded a respectable fifth-placed finish.

The Sapphire Jewels – Ellie Boad, Emma Hurley, Lauren d’Costa and Eleanor Gibson – finished ninth, while the Sapphire Sparklers – Peri Clayton, Molly Jefferies, Shelley Sweeney-Slavin and Millie Gall – came 12th.

The top two places were taken by teams from The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics, with TNAG White finishing first and TNAG Blue coming second.

Elsewhere, in the county group, Sapphire’s Nemiah Munir and Alyieana Rahim helped Hertfordshire to an emphatic victory.

Nemiah and Alyieana, along with team-mates Erika Magpantay and Amelia Evans, were clear winners of the event with a total score of 141.95 – 3.25 marks ahead of nearest rivals Somerset B.

On Saturday’s schedule of events, the club and county teams ranged from Level 3 to the highest level, FIG.

Neither Sapphire nor Hertfordshire entered at Level 3 but Chloe Barden from Sapphire helped the Herts Level 2 team to a fine second-placed finish.

The most thrilling gymnastics, though, came at the end of the day, with Sapphire saving the best until last.

Sapphire’s FIG team of Niamh Ryan, Eleanor Thompson, Gabrielle Jupp and Stephanie Ponder put on a brilliant display to win the gold medal – their tremendous total score of 145.10 was 10.45 points ahead of their nearest rivals Piper’s Vale from Ipswich.

To cap off the superb spectacle, after the events had finished the crowds were entertained with some thrilling acrobatic gymnastics and a brilliant display by Sapphire’s boys.

For a full list of competition results, or to find out more about Sapphire, please visit www.sapphiregymnastics.co.uk