Attendances at record level for British Championship

EVENT organisers have expressed their delight that the 2017 British Gymnastics Championship Series attracted a record attendance with nearly 5,000 people visiting Liverpool’s Echo Arena across the four days of competition.

Ticket sales for the third Championship Series were the best yet as spectators went to cheer on the 1,500 gymnasts from 99 clubs, who competed in a range of disciplines including aerobics, acrobatics, rhythmic, TeamGym and the GB Gym for Life Challenge.

‘With 15 senior champions crowned across the Series, there were some incredible routines, including close-up action of new World Games gold medallists Conor Sawenko, Charlie Tate, Adam Upcott and Lewis Watts, who made up the men’s four from Spelthorne,’ said a British Gymnastics spokesperson.

‘Before showcasing their talents, the arena got a chance to hear from all the competitors that took part in the World Games about their experiences and plans for the future.

‘Attendees also had the chance to get competitive with some arena challenges. Burpees, sprints and hula hoop contests left not only athletes craving the winning title, but parents and supporters, too. With various stalls to venture around, including goodies from GymShop and Quatro, there was something to watch or get involved in around every corner.’

The organisers were quick to praise the ‘incredible’ volunteers who made sure the event ran smoothly throughout. Geoff Grant, a volunteering support and development manager, said gymnastics is fortunate to have a committed and diverse army of volunteers. ‘I never cease to be amazed by how selfless our volunteers are. By volunteering they are giving us their commitment, energy, passion and their precious time, a massive sacrifice in a busy, modern world. They are simply awesome,’ he said.

Volunteer Kate Walsh added: ‘To see the running of the whole competition, the work involved is incredible. Whenever I come to an event to watch again, I’ll know what’s going on behind the scenes, which you normally just take for granted. It’s been really interesting.’

For the second year in a row, the ‘Gala Evening’ took place on the Friday night of the event. More than 1,000 people watched 12 clubs perform to the theme of ‘Our Sport: Our World’.
Rio Olympians Ellie Downie and Claudia Fragapane attended the evening to show their support to their fellow gymnasts and sign autographs.

Fragapane then took to the floor, rounding off the evening with her club Bristol Hawks, whose theme was sport, with the 19-year-old adding some Strictly Come Dancing moves to the routine.

Competitors will now have one eye on this year’s Trampoline, Tumbling and DMT British Championships which will take place at the Echo Arena over the weekend of September 23-24.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.