On Friday 7th November 2014 32 Hawth gymnasts, 3 coaches and 5 parents volunteers (who didn’t yet know what they had let themselves in for) woke up at a very a unsociable hour and headed through unrelenting rain to Gatwick Airport. They were headed to Kingersheim, France to be the first gymnasts from Hawth to represent the club on the International stage.
After a plane journey, a bus trip, a quick visit to McDonald’s and many many headcounts the group had arrived safely at the venue ready for a pre-competition training session. Training went well and, despite the competition floor being much harder than the one used in training, the gymnasts were able to perform all their skills well and feel well prepared for the competition the next day.
Another bus trip (and a few more head counts) saw the group arrive at the Youth Hostel that would be home for the next two days. After settling in to their rooms the gymnasts headed down to the dining room and made impressively short work of 18 large pizzas! After a few room changes and the occasional lost toothbrush the gymnasts, coaches and chaperones were settled in to their beds ready for the competition the next morning.
Early mornings were quickly became a theme of the weekend as breakfast was served at 6:30am on Saturday (much to the disgust of the teenagers of the group). Several loaves of bread were toasted, buttered and devoured to provide the gymnasts with the required fuel for the day.
The International TeamGym Cup for Clubs has never been held in France before (there are legs in England, Spain, Italy, Scotland and Czech Republic), but despite this there was a good showing of teams from across Europe. Challengers from France, Italy, Germany & the Czech Republic would be giving the Hawth gymnasts their competition for the day.
First to compete were our Level 3 Youth Girls (aged 10 – 12) who opened the competition with their near faultless floor routine, they followed this up with good performance on both tumble and trampette to finish in 1st place and win the club its first set international gold medals.
The Level 3 Youth Boys (aged 10 – 12) had a tough act to follow but also performed exceptionally well and put out some of the most difficult skills being shown by the youth age group. The boys also finished 1st and bagged Hawth a second set of golds.
Our third and final full team to compete were our Level 2 Junior Boys (age 13 – 17), these boys had been plagued with injuries in the run up to this competition and had to simplify some of their skills but were able to perform them cleanly enough to win their category, another fantastic achievement and a clean sweep for Hawth!
In the afternoon round it was the turn of our Junior Girls Micro (a team of just 3 girls aged 13 – 16) to compete. The girls performed well on tumble and trampette with only 2 small mistakes throughout and saw off competition from Italy to take first position and continue Hawth’s winning streak!
As evening drew in a few (very tired) gymnasts chose to take part in the individual competition. This competition required each gymnast to perform their best two runs on each piece and was judged without age groups, meaning that Hawth’s 10 and 11 year olds were competing against seniors. There were some VERY big skills being performed by high level gymnasts so Hawth’s gymnasts took part for fun with very little expectations. When presentations came around everyone was very excited to discover that 12 year old Olivia L had placed 3rd in the Women’s Individual Competition beating off much older gymnasts come who had competed in the European Championships. Olivia’s triumph was the cherry on top of an amazing day for Hawth and sent everyone to bed with a smile that evening (after dancing the night away at the disco organised for the gymnasts by the competition organisers of course).
After a very slow start (everyone was understandably exhausted!) on Sunday the victorious Hawth teams headed out for a day of mini golf at a local sports complex. This was a great opportunity for the gymnasts to relax and enjoy some time together. It was great for the adults to watch the children getting along and also provided a great teambuilding exercise for everyone.
By the end of Sunday 32 tired children and 8 exhausted adults had arrived at Basel Airport ready to fly home. The entire trip was a fantastic experience for all involved a everyone at Hawth would like to thank our very kind sponsors who made it all possible.