Nicola rolls back years at world championships
Coach returns after eight years
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