By Carl Field
This weekend the Rhythmic Gymnastics British Championships return for the first time since 2019 and there will be plenty of Welsh interest in Telford, including Treowen’s Lauryn Carpenter.
Some of the best rhythmic gymnasts in Britain will be competing for titles. Across the two days of competition, under-10s, under-12s, espoir, junior and senior individuals and groups will be aiming to impress.
COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event in both of past two years.
For Carpenter, 17, this will be her first British as a senior. The last time the event was held three years ago she placed seventh overall in the individual junior competition.
Newport-born Carpenter, who hails from Treowen near Newbridge, began her journey in rhythmic started aged 10 at Valleys Gymnastics Academy before switching to Llanelli Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy.
This weekend marks the start of a big few weeks for Carpenter as she bids to secure their spot on Team Wales for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“Everything has been great so far,” she said ahead of this weekend’s British Championships.
“Training has been running smoothly and I feel that I am improving on something every day. Each competition I have been to, representing Wales, has made me feel a little more confident in my performance in front of different audiences, helping consistency and confidence in my routines.
“I am excited to be able to display new skills that I have learnt over the past few years, and hopefully have my hard work pay off and perform well at such an important competition, against some of the best gymnasts in Britain.
“The 2019 British Championships had an amazing atmosphere and I can’t wait to experience it all over again.”
Carpenter and her teammates have been training and competing hard so far in 2022 travelling across the continent to compete in Greece, Serbia and Estonia, along with a training camp in Gibraltar.
The Welsh Championships take place in Cardiff over the weekend of 4/5 June.
On what securing selection for the Commonwealth Games would mean, Lauryn said: “To be selected for Team Wales would mean everything and more to me.
“To be given the chance to go to Birmingham and to be able to go out and give my best to support my teammates in the Commonwealth Games team competition, I feel it would make all of the sacrifices made by myself and my family over the years worth it.
“As important and nerve-racking as these next few weeks are, I feel I am well prepared and have trained my hardest from day to day, in order to achieve my full potential and best possible outcome from each competition.
“I am eager for the results from what are possibly some of the most important events of my rhythmic career so far.”
Carpenter is one of eight Llanelli RGA gymnasts set to compete at Telford International Centre this weekend. Joining her in the senior category are fellow Commonwealth Games longlist gymnasts Gemma Frizelle and Emily Cullen.
Other longlist gymnast Elizabeth Popova misses out through injury.
Eirlys Jones will be competing in the junior competition with Eleni Spear and Imogen Coslett going in the under-12 and Grace Woods and Bonnie-Lee Williams in the under-10 category.