RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Halford stars in Gibraltar

This Is Wiltshire: Cricklade's Laura Halford Cricklade's Laura Halford

A ROCK-SOLID performance in Gibraltar has continued Laura Halford’s countdown to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.

The 17-year-old rhythmic gymnast from Cricklade not only helped steer Wales to victory in the five-nations senior team competition on The Rock, but she also won the overall individual title.

It completed a busy competitive schedule for the New College student which also took her to Belgrade and Belgium recently.

“We started off in the Ritam Cup in Belgium where my routines went very well and I finished second overall,” said Laura, who is the reigning British and Welsh champion.

“I beat quite a few Russians in that event and they are always main contenders.

“I made a few more mistakes in my routines when we moved on to The Happy Cup in Belgium.

“But it was a very high level of competition with many gymnasts who had competed at world championships.”

Halford was joined on the Wales team in Belgium by the Commonwealth medal-winning and Olympic gymnast Frankie Jones, who is on the comeback trail after injury, as well as the junior Gemma Frizelle.

Halford recorded the best results of the trio, finishing sixth in the ribbon and 13th overall.

“In Gibraltar, it was basically a home-nations event between England, Wales and Scotland as well as gymnasts from South Africa and Gibraltar,” said Halford.

“The competition was not as strong as in Belgium and Belgrade but it was good to come out on top both in the team and the individual.”

Halford has now earned some downtime as the Welsh selectors prepare to whittle down their squad from seven to three ahead of Glasgow.

“I’d like to think I have done enough to make the team,” she said.

“Seeing Frankie win a medal in Delhi for Wales in 2010 motivated me even more because I knew that one day I wanted to do the same.

“We now have time to perhaps change parts of our routines that have not worked in competition.

“It will be the first time Wales has entered a full team in the Commonwealth rhythmic gymnastics and it could be strong enough to win a medal.”

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