GYMNASTICS: Halford is gearing up to defend her crown
SWINDON-based Esprit Gymnastics travel to the rhythmic gymnastics British Championships on May 16 with a great chance of winning a host of medals, writes Jed Court.
The squad of seven, led by head coach Deb Hows, will have their sights set on backing up the sensational showing of 2013 which produced 14 medals, 10 of them gold.
Senior overall champion Laura Halford will defend her British title in one of the strongest fields the sport in this country has ever seen.
Stefani Sherlock, who beat her teammate to all four of the individual apparatus gold medals last year, will be looking to replicate that form in the all-around competition.
Tyler Brummit swept the board in the junior section last time around, winning all five gold medals, and will join her older counterparts in the seniors this year looking to successfully make the transition up an age group.
Joining these three in the seniors will be Maya Lucas and Ellie Morse, the latter of which won the senior ball competition at the recent Open Apparatus championships.
The youngest members of the team are junior Katy Coleman, who also medalled at the Open Apparatus, and under 11 debutant Abi-Jae Booth.
Halford has all but sealed her spot in the Wales Commonwealth Games squad, but for Sherlock and Brummit the national showpiece event in Stoke-on-Trent will be crucial if they are to qualify for England.
Coach Hows said: “The British Championships is always important for all of the gymnasts, to just qualify is a massive achievement and they all have their own personal targets. For the English girls it is also a selection competition for the Commonwealth Games.
“The girls are all working hard for the British Championships. I think that the competition in all ages will be very strong and as long as they all perform their routines to the best of their abilities I can't ask for more.”