Thursday, 29 March 2012

Esprit in the USA!

Fleur, Deb & Laura at Niagra.
Esprit have again been on their travels, this time to the Coaches Cup in Syracuse, America!

Head coach Deb Hows made the trip as traveling Judge, along with a party from Welsh Gymnastics and Esprit gymnasts, Welsh and GB International Laura Halford and Fleur Randall.

It was a fab trip, with great weather and some fantastic results for our girls. Laura was 6th in Hoop, 4th in Ball and was 6th overall against a very strong field from the American clubs. She was also awarded the title of 'miss tournament', by the event organisers.

Fleur also had a brilliant experience in her first overseas competition gaining valuable experience and the title, 'miss future hope'.

There was also the opportunity to pick up some great bargains at the local shopping mall and exciting trip to see the amazing Niagra Falls.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Another award for Esprit

Just back from Swindon's Pride of Swindon awards with yet more trophies for Esprit's bulging trophy cabinet.

That's right, up against several incredibly deserving teams, from across Swindon, Esprit won the Team of the Year award for its hard working and successful team of coaches, administrators, volunteers and fund-raisers.

Look out for coverage and pictures of the event in the Swindon Adver, Bev and coach Hannah, were interviewed, whilst looking their best when they collected the award on behalf of everyone at the club.

Well done to them and congratulations to the whole Esprit team, you fully deserve your award.

Esprit - The Pride of Swindon

Esprit are up for yet another award today and will be attending Swindon's Steam Museum for the awards ceremony at 1:30 today. 

Up for Team of the Year, some of the clubs coaches will be attending the event to represent all the hard work everyone at the club has put in to make Esprit one of the very best gymnastic clubs in the Country.

In the last year alone Esprit has seen its membership grow to more than 700 which is down to the great coaching team and range of gymnastic disciplines, that are designed to bring out the champion in every child.

But we really couldn't have done it without you, our gymnasts and fantastic parents, so thank you for helping Esprit become a club that Swindon can truly be proud.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Esprit goes Stateside

Good luck to Head coach Deb along with Laura and Fleur, who yesterday flew to Syracuse in NY State, USA to compete in the Coaches Cup. They will be there for a week competing, but will hopefully get a little time off to do some sightseeing and visit the nearby Niagara Falls.

Have a great trip the three of you and good luck!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Display Team go to Basildon!

On Saturday 10th March 2012 thirty three members of the Esprit Display Team traveled to Basildon Sporting Village in Essex to represent Esprit at the Great British Gymfusion event, with their specially choreographed performance of Tron.  

The team did a great job for their first outing of the season and the teams new members were fantastic!
It was definitely good practice for the Scottish Gymfest which takes place on the 4th, 5th and 6th May.
Other display where the Esprit Display Team will perform this year, include The Olympic Torch Ceremony in Swindon on 23rd May and Eurogym, Coimbra Portugal in July.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Laura's a real picture!

Following the great news about Esprit gymnast Jade Faulkner's qualification to the London Olympics, another of the clubs star gymnasts, reigning Junior British Champion Laura Halford, was invited to a professional photo shoot today.

She made the trip with Esprit's head coach, Deb Hows to have her photograph taken for the official Olympic souvenir programme, which will be available at the games.

It's great news for Laura to have been selected and of course the club who will be represented at the 2012 London games by Deb, as an official working in the gymnastics hall, Jade a competitor in the group competition and now Laura in the souvenir programme.

What a great week for the club and the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, we will post photographs as soon as we can.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Joy as gym team gets Olympic nod

Published in the Swindon Advertiser - March 6, 2012

Jade Faulkner in the air during a performance of the British Gymnastic Rhythmic Group
Jade Faulkner in the air during a performance of the British Gymnastic Rhythmic Group
A TEENAGER from Swindon cried tears of joy yesterday after receiving the news that her rhythmic gymnastics team will be allowed to make history at the 2012 Olympics.

Jade Faulkner, 18, had been waiting anxiously for a decision over whether the squad should have been excluded for taking three days instead of two to reach a qualifying standard at a test event.

The team easily achieved the score but British Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, refused to nominate them for the Games, and the team appealed to an arbitrator.

Jade’s father Roger, 55, said: “It’s fantastic. Jade was pretty emotional and there were a few tears when she heard. They train 42 hours a week and deserve to be on the international scene. It’s a great feat for a teenager to accomplish.

Jade will be the first gymnast from Swindon to compete in the group event and the squad will be the first ever British competitors to take part.

At the weekend the team registered a score of 49.88 at a competition in Sweden – way above the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.223.

Mr Faulkner, from South Marston, said: “They have been competing against teams who have been eating, breathing and working together for years. I just hope she gets there without any injuries. It will be pretty emotional to see her taking part.”

Deb Hows, head rhythmic gymnastics coach at Esprit Swindon, where Jade’s talent was nurtured, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news, we’re over the moon. The improvement they have made in the last six months has been staggering and it goes without saying that they deserve a place at the Olympics.”

Jade and her six team-mates attended a meeting at their Bath training base yesterday, where they were told by their legal representative that they had won the appeal.

British Gymnastics had told them they had fallen short of the selection target on the opening two days of a test event held at the O2 Arena in January. They achieved it on day three, but the body refused to put them forward.

The squad took their case to arbitration on the grounds that they had never been told about the time limit.

The gymnasts will now be nominated to the British Olympic Association, with selection virtually assured to the 550-strong GB squad.

British Gymnastics’ chief executive officer Jane Allen said in a statement: “British Gymnastics respects the rights of its athletes to appeal selection procedure. We were confident that we had put in place a transparent, fair and equitable selection policy and associated qualifying score to allow a rhythmic group to self-determine their nomination to the BOA and subsequent participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

Monday, 5 March 2012

Gymnasts succeed in Olympic selection appeal

The Rhythmic Gymnastics Group, including Esprit's jade Faulkner, have succeeded in their appeal against the decision of British Gymnastics not to nominate them for selection for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Rhythmic Gymnastics

This follows a hearing held at Sport Resolutions' arbitration centre in London on 29 February.  The hearing was chaired by arbitrator Graeme Mew and conducted in accordance with the arbitration rules of Sport Resolutions by agreement of the parties. 
Click here  to read the written decision. 

Congratulations girls, we will all be supporting you in London!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Team of the Year for Esprit!

It was a great night for Esprit yesterday, at the Swindon Advertiser Sports Awards, held at the Blunsdon House Hotel and an even better one for their senior team.

Esprit was up for an impressive four awards, led by Esprit's head coach Deb Hows, who was nominated for Sports Coach of the year. Deb, who has already won the Wiltshire & Swindon performance coach of the year, 2 years running, attended with Esprit's head of display coaching, Cherie Skeats.

Esprit's British Champion, 16 year old Laura Halford, who already won this years Wiltshire and Swindon Junior Sports Person of the year, was nominated for Junior Sports Person by the Swindon Advertiser.

The Junior Group consisting of Gabriela Caruso, Maya Lucas, Lauren Hoard, Ellie Morse, Ashleigh West and Hannah Curtis, were nominated for Junior Team of the year following a string of impressive performances, culminating in winning the National Team Championships.

The fourth nomination was for Esprit's senior team who narrowly missed out on the senior National Team title by the narrowest of margins. But this didn't stop the team of Elise Gilbert, April Coombes, Gemma Rand, Elizabeth Walecki, Alicia Veveris, Clarice Saloyadoff and Micia Falaki, picking up the Swindon Advertiser team of the year award.

The trophy was presented to them by Swindon Steel Supplies, at the event attended by some of Swindon's top sporting stars.

Well done to everyone concerned, especially the Senior Group, 'Team of the Year',  - were very proud of you all!

See the adver report here...

To tough for men!

What a great article that simply sums up the wonderful sport of rhythmic gymnastics.

It is no coincidence that the only Olympic sports contested solely by women are the only ones that require athletes to wear eyeliner and lipstick. Rhythmic gymnasts and synchronised swimmers wear leotards and faces that spangle and glitter - the way you look is just as important as the way you move. Is this the last bastion of traditional lady-like behaviour in the face of muscular feminism?

Of course not; these athletes are as hard as weightlifters. Don’t be fooled by the elegance and grace, their sport only looks easy because they have the strength, flexibility and stamina to make it so. Mo Farah can stretch his gasping sinews every sweaty stride towards the finish line and Jess Ennis can lie thoroughly exhausted on the track after her 800ms, but our gymnasts have to show no exertion, no breathlessness and no effort.

To use the colloquial metaphor of the duck that is calm on the surface, but paddling like a train underneath, the hard labour is what the synchronised swimmer and rhythmic gymnast strives to hide from you. Perhaps if I refer to synchronised swimming’s original title of Water Ballet I can more convincingly convey the scale of the physical demands of the sport – at least to those of you who have seen Black Swan.

Minority sports are so because they are minor players in sports media coverage, but they are also widely minor in the realms of common sporting knowledge. Most people know what a ‘bicycle kick’ and ‘topspin’ refer to. Not so with the ‘egg beater’, ‘pusher’ and ‘stack lift’ and there is certainly no appreciation of how hard they might be to do.

Therein lies the opportunity of the London 2012 Olympic Games for these athletes. They have scraped through the last four years with comparatively less cash than their counterparts (synchronised swimming receives 3.46m per year compared to £20.66m awarded to swimming) or self funded (GB rhythmic gymnasts self funded their way to within 0.273 of a qualification for the 2012 Games).

This is their moment to shine but there is no Tom Daley or Louis Smith to put their sport on a viral video or You Tube. If you missed out on the Rhythmic Gymnastics in January 2012 buy tickets for the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification and see just what these women are made of.  

A great time to say good luck to Esprit gymnast Jade Faulkner and the rest of the GB Rhythmic Group at the Nordic Cup in Sweden this weekend!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Sports Awards tonight

Good luck to our nominees in the Swindon Advertiser Sports Awards tonight!!!

Following the success of the club and its athletes over the last year several of our gymnasts and coaches have been nominated for awards.

Deb Hows - Performance coach of the year. Already a winner of the Wiltshire & Swindon Performance Coach of the year, for the last 2 years, Deb has been nominated for the Swindon Adver. Coach of the year.

Laura Halford - Young Sports Person of the year. Already winner of the 2011 Wiltshire & Swindon Young Sports person of the year, Laura's incredible run of success including both British and Welsh national titles has helped secure her a nomination in the Swindon Adver. awards.

Junior Group - Junior Team of the year. After brilliant performances and securing the Gold medal at the National Group Championships, Esprit's junior group is up for Junior Team of the year.

Senior Group - Team of the year. Again, brilliant performances and only a count back on points stopping the girls securing the National Group Championship gold, they are up for Senior Team of the year.

All will be attending a reception and awards ceremony at the Blunsdon House Hotel tonight.

Good luck everyone, no matter what the result, being nominated is a fantastic achievement and proves you to be worthy of the award, enjoy the evening!