Ni­cola rolls back years at world cham­pi­onships

Coach re­turns af­ter eight years

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - by Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HILLING­DON School of Gym­nas­tics (HSG) Swal­lows coach Ni­cola Owen came out of re­tire­ment to lead the way at the USAIGC World Cham­pi­onships in Cal­i­for­nia.

Owen called it a day eight years ago, but pulled on her leo­tard again in Palm Springs as she rolled back the years in the United States, along with four HSG mem­bers as they claimed 15 medals.

Shani Ross, Emily Dixon, Mialara Coleman and Macy-Rae Sim­mons all made the trip with Owen, who took the com­pe­ti­tion by storm by scor­ing an un­beat­able 36.95 from a pos­si­ble 40.00.

That gave the 26-year-old gold in her cat­e­gory and also saw her qual­ify for all four ap­pa­ra­tus fi­nals, tak­ing gold in the vault and with her floor rou­tine, sil­ver on the bars and bronze for the beam

It was Ross, Dixon, Coleman and Sim­mons’ big­gest in­ter­na­tional event to date and saw them pit­ting their wits against teams from Ber­muda, Canada and the host coun­try.

Sim­mons fin­ished 23rd out of 34 com­peti­tors in the bronze cat­e­gory and the 12-year-old de­lighted coach Owen with her per­for­mance and in­cred­i­ble rise.

“Macy-Rae has par­tic­i­pated in Artis­tic Gym­nas­tics for just 10 months now,” she said of the rookie. “To be com­pet­ing at an event of this level in such a short space of time is an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment, I am very proud of Macy-Rae for giv­ing it her all and cop­ing so ma­turely.”

Coleman, 13, was also com­pet­ing in bronze and cap­tured the US au­di­ence with her el­e­gance and grace, fin­ish­ing in 11th place over­all but scoop­ing sil­ver on the beam.

Dixon, 14, was com­pet­ing in the sil­ver sec­tion and nar­rowly missed out on gold in the vault to see her fin­ish up sev­enth out of 23 gym­nasts.

Ross, a lit­tle more ex­pe­ri­enced at the age of 18, was com­pet­ing in the sil­ver cat­e­gory for those aged 17 and older. She fin­ished sev­enth over­all and got a bronze medal for her vault.

Sim­mons, Coleman, Dixon and Owen also per­formed their floor rou­tines in higher-level cat­e­gories and Owen again im­pressed the judges to fin­ish in third place.

The state­side suc­cess fol­lows more glory for the club af­ter Esme Devlin,10, and Luisha Ben­nett,13, raked in the medals at the Chan­nel Is­lands Cham­pi­onships, in Jersey.

Coach Owen added: “I couldn’t be any prouder of the gym­nasts I teach and the ef­fort and de­ter­mi­na­tion they put into their train­ing. I’m look­ing for­ward to watch­ing them progress fur­ther this year in prepa­ra­tion for the com­pe­ti­tions in 2016.”

n GRACE­FUL: Shani Ross, Emily Dixon, Ni­cola Owen, Macy-Rae Sim­mons and Mialara Coleman Con­trib­uted

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