Q1. What age did you start gymnastics?
A1. I started at the age of 4 at a club in Ruislip which closed down. At the age of 5 I moved to Harefield Gymnastics Club and I’ve been there ever since, so that about 10 years!
Q2. What is it about gymnastics that you like most?
A2. I like the variation you get in gymnastics as oppose to other sports, which I’ve also tried. Every training session is different, for example we may concentrate on ‘partnership working’ in one session or ‘tumbling’ or ‘conditioning’, so the variety really helps to keep gymnastics fun.
Q3. What does a typical gymnastics training session include?
A3. At performance level our training sessions last about 3-3.5 hours, so we pack a lot in! Usually we start with ‘conditioning’ – this consists of fitness training, stamina and core training and running.
Then we move onto ‘Stretching’ which is important for any gymnast as we need to be very flexible for our routines and skill sets.
As acrobatic gymnasts we work as ‘bases’ or ‘tops’ and so in training we split into our groups. Bases work on building strength as they need to hold and throw the tops. The tops work on strength and preparing for skills and partner work.
Finally in partnerships we work on developing and perfecting the acrobatic skills we perform in our routines.
Q4. How many hours do you train for and how do you balance school work and gym?
A4. We train for 18 hours a week ( and a little bit more during the holidays). My school, like a lot of the gymnasts, is quite supportive and gives me extra time in school to get my work done.
A lot of my homework I will get done at the weekend when I have more time. But doing this amount of training with school work makes us all very good with time management and disciplined about our time!
Q5. How many competitions have you done and which was your most memorable one?
A5. I have done lots of competitions while I’ve been a gymnast at Harefield Gymnastics Academy and I really enjoy these, although they are always nerve racking. We tend to compete in 5 or 6 competitions through the 6-8 month competition season.
My best competition was in Turin in Italy. This was an international competition which was great for team building. It was also great to get to see other countries competing to see what they are like.
Q6. Do you feel you miss out on seeing your friends/social life because of your training schedule?
A6. Obviously there are things I do miss out on: parties; girls nights in; shopping trips and stuff like that. But my friends are very understanding so will change events to days I’m not doing gym. Also though, all the gymnasts I train with are really close and we are all really good friends in the gym as we spend so much time together, which expands my group of friends from just school friends. We go out together, so actually I get the best of both worlds.
Q7. Do you perform on your own at gymnastics?
A7. No, in acrobatic gymnastics we work in partnerships (unlike artistic gymnastics). I work in a trio – my trio consists of a ‘top’, ‘middle’ and ‘base’ – I am the ‘middle’. The top always tends to be younger as they fly around everywhere! As well as performing acrobatic skills in our routines we also incorporate lots of dance.
Q8. What is the your biggest achievement to date at gymnastics?
A8. I came 4th in the British Championships in Liverpool when I was aged 12.
Q9. What motivates you to train and compete at elite level?
A9. The feeling of getting a medal at a competition motivates me as it’s hard to achieve. So people recognise this as an achievement when you do medal at competitions, because at performance level the competition from other clubs is high as well. Getting medals makes all the training worthwhile.
Q10. What would you say to someone who is thinking of taking up gymnastics at Harefield Gymnastics Academy?
A10. If you want something consistent and more long term then this is the sport for you. It’s fun, rewarding, hard work, you make great friends. It keeps you fit and healthy and makes you more disciplined. I can’t imagine life without gymnastics. So if your willing to do it I’d say ‘go for it, just do it’…………..
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