Halford won her fifth title in Telford.

Wales Star Laura Hanging Up Her Ribbon…And Ball, Hoop And Clubs

By Rob Cole

Sam Warburton quit at the top of his game at 29 earlier this year and now another of Wales’ superstar performers, Laura Halford, has hung up her rhythmic gymnastics ribbon at the even younger age of 22.

The four-time Commonwealth Games medallist announced her decision to retire after finishing 65th at the World Championships in Sofia last weekend.

She scored 13.100 with ball and 14.850 with hoop, before returning to score 15.150 with ribbon and 13.050 with clubs.

Having taken over the mantle of the queen of British rhythmic gymnastics from fellow Welsh legend Frankie Jones, she now leaves the stage clear for another Welsh star in the making, Gemma Frizelle, to follow in some very illustrious footsteps.

Frizelle joined Halford in Sofia and finished a creditable 74th at her first World Championships. She was part of Team Wales at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in the year and at 20 is set to become the leading light at the 2022 Games in Birmingham.



Halford explained her decision on Instagram, thanking all her supporters for their backing in a career that began at the age of six. She first represented Wales and Britain at the age of nine and in 2011 became British Junior Champion.

“After 16 amazing years as a gymnast I have decided to retire from the sport. Gymnastics has shaped me into the person I am today and taught me lifelong lessons,” Halford told her fans.

“I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had and the friends and memories that I have made along the way. Even through the tough times I have loved every second.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and all the people who I have had the chance to learn from, most importantly: my family, Nia, Jo, Londa, Welsh Gymnastics and all the hardworking staff at Sport Wales.

“I am now looking forward to the future, to trying something new as well as staying involved in the sport and being able to give back to some of the younger generation.”

Earlier in the year Halford continued the Welsh domination of the British Rhythmic Gymnastics crown as she won her fifth all-round title in Telford.

That made it five titles in six years and extended the Welsh success rate to 11 triumphs in the past 13 years as she built on the record-breaking success of Frankie Jones in winning six titles between 2006-12.

Halford finished fifth overall at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and struck silver in the Hoop. In Glasgow in 2014 she won a team silver and struck bronze in the all-round and Ball.

Halford after being selected for Commonwealth Games last April.

Laura Halford Titles / Medals
2018 British all-around and clubs champion, ribbon and hoop silver, ball bronze

2018 Commonwealth Games (Team Wales) hoop silver, team and all-around 5th

2017 British all-around, hoop, clubs and ribbon champion, ball silver

2016 British ribbon and clubs champion, hoop and ball silver

2015 British all-around, hoop, clubs and ball champion, ribbon silver

2014 Commonwealth Games (Team Wales) team silver, all-around bronze and ball bronze

2014 British all-around champion

2013 British all-around champion

2011 Junior British all-around champion

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