By Carl Field
A gold medal on the parallel bars for Team Wales Commonwealth Games gymnast Joe Cemlyn-Jones was one of the highlights of a packed weekend of action at the Men’s London Open in Ilford.
Following up on his high bar bronze at the Artistic British Championships in March, City of Birmingham men’s artistic star Cemlyn-Jones delivered a world-class routine packed with super strength which earned him a top score of 14.550.
He finished ahead of Pavel Karnejenko (South Essex) and West Lothian’s Cameron Lynn who took silver and bronze respectively.
There were also plenty of other Welsh gymnasts in action at Redbridge Sports Centre over the weekend across the age groups at the London Open – which is one of the leading men’s artistic competitions in the UK.
Other highlights included a senior vault bronze for Henry Lewis (Leeds) while Alex Niscoveanu (South Essex) won all-around silver in the U18 competition along with gold on the floor, vault and high bar and silver on parallel bars.
In the U14 event, Sammy Cotter (Bury) secured silver in the all-around, gold on both pommel horse and high bar and also joint bronze on vault.
YMCA Barry’s Reuben Burns took all-around silver in the U12 Elite competition.
Meanwhile, nine Welsh gymnasts have made the Women’s Artistic British squads for 2023/24.
Clwb Cymru Caerdydd has once again featured prominently.
With nine gymnasts selected across the Senior Squad, Senior Development Squad, Junior Squad and Aspire Development Squad, Clwb Cymru are the only program in Great Britain with representation in all the British Squads.
Team Wales star Poppy-Grace Stickler, who back in March became a double senior British Championships medallist on floor when she took silver in Liverpool, is named in the Senior Squad, as are first year seniors Ruby Evans and Evie Flage-Donovan.
2023 London Open – Joe Cemlyn Jones PB 14.550
— InternationalGymnast (@intlgymnast) May 14, 2023
Evans was fifth all-around at her first senior British where she was also crowned new British champion on vault.
The Welsh trio are named in the Senior Squad alongside Ondine Achampong, Rebecca Downie, Georgia-Mae Fenton, Claudia Fragapane, Jennifer Gadirova, Jessica Gadirova, Alice Kinsella, Kelly Simm and Ruby Stacey.
Stickler has been a Great Britain women’s team reserve for the past two major championships – the World and European Championships.
Evans was also a reserve for the most recent Europeans – where the team of Achampong, Jessica Gadirova, Downie, Kinsella and Fenton helped GB secure an historic first ever European women’s team gold.
Two other Team Wales representatives from last year’s Commonwealth Games, Sofia Micallef and Mali Morgan, have been selected in the Senior Development Squad.
Both were double finalists on the apparatus at the British Championships and, with Morgan, eighth, and Micallef, 10th, also made it four Clwb Cymru gymnasts in the top 10 of the Senior British all-around with Stickler leading the way in fourth.
Lexi Holmes makes her first GB squad after placing third in the Women’s Aspire competition at the British Championships in Liverpool back in March.
Ffion Burgum, Ellie Lewis and Jemima Taylor all move up to the Junior Squad.
Burgum bagged all-around silver and floor gold in the Junior competition at the British with Lewis taking bronze all-around, gold on uneven bars and bronze on the floor.
Taylor has recently returned from representing Britain at the Junior World Championships in Antalya, Turkey, where she was an all-around and floor finalist.
Senior Development Squad
Aspire Development Squad