Brinn Bevan at the 2022 British Artistic Gymnastic Championships.

Road To Birmingham 2022: Brinn Bevan Among Welsh Medal Winners At 2022 Artistic Gymnastics British Championships

By Carl Field

Rio Olympian Brinn Bevan was among the medal winners at the 2022 Artistic British Championships in Liverpool over the weekend.

His bronze in the senior men’s parallel bars competition on Sunday was one of 20 medals won by Welsh gymnasts in the various categories across four action-packed days of competition at the M&S Bank Arena.

There were also brilliant bronze medals won on the apparatus in the senior women’s competition on Sunday by Clwb Cymru Caerdydd pair Sofia Micallef, on vault, and Whitchurch High School pupil Poppy Stickler, on floor.

It ensured they left a mark on their first British event as senior gymnasts and both, like Bevan, are gunning for a spot on Team Wales for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Bevan, 24, was British senior men’s all-around champion in 2018 and trains out of South Essex Gymnastics Club alongside the likes of three-time Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock OBE.

On Saturday, Bevan was back competing on all six apparatus and finished seventh in the men’s senior all-around competition, the highest-placed Welsh finisher, with a total of 78.350.

Medal winner Brinn Bevan in action at the British Championships.

Joe Cemlyn-Jones, another Team Wales contender who placed second in the all-around competition last year, had to settle for ninth here (77.900).

Reigning Welsh senior men’s all-around champion Benjamin Eyre, who is bidding to secure his Team Wales place for back-to-back Commonwealth Games, was 15th.

Cemlyn-Jones’ City of Birmingham teammate Joe Fraser was crowned British senior men’s all-around champion for the second time, scoring 84.900 which couldn’t be beaten and reclaiming the title he first won back in 2017.

Aylesbury’s Jessica Gadirova took the women’s senior all-around title, looking assured from the outset, and scoring 54.650 to secure gold.

There were also two Welsh gymnasts in the top 10.

Welsh senior women’s all-around champion Jea Maracha placed ninth, scoring 48.850 across the four apparatus and just in front of Clwb Cymru Caerdydd teammates Mali Morgan and Stickler (both 48.700) in 10th and 11th respectively. North Walian Mia Evans (Park Wrekin) was 16th with 47.750.

Ruby Evans and Poppy Stickler (top), Jea Maracha and Mali Morgan (bottom). Pic: Olivia Bryl.

The senior men’s and women’s all-around competitions on Saturday also doubled up as qualifying for the apparatus finals taking place the following day, with the top eight gymnasts on each piece progressing.

Bevan had been the defending British champion on parallel bars heading into Sunday’s final but, scoring 14.100, he was beaten to gold this time by Tokyo Olympian Giarnni Regini-Moran (16.600).

Fraser, himself a former world champion on the parallel bars, took silver with 14.466.

Swansea’s Emil Barber had qualified for the floor final in second but eventually had to settle for fifth while there would be ultimately no individual medal for Cemlyn-Jones this year as he finished outside the medals on high bar and on the rings.

And while Bevan being on the podium again took nobody by surprise, the bronze medals won by 15-year-olds Micallef and Stickler in their debut year as women’s seniors was notable to say the least.

In doing so Stickler (scoring 13.400) also edged out Tokyo Olympian Alice Kinsella (13.200) on the floor to bag herself a place on the podium alongside both Gadirova twins – who of course were also part of that Olympic bronze medal-winning Great Britain women’s team along with Kinsella.

Stickler was certainly in good company and finished third as European floor champion Jessica Gadirova (14.600) beat sister Jennifer Gadirova (13.950) to gold.

The former also won gold on vault with an average score of 13.900 with Micallef in the bronze medal position thanks to a score of 12.925.

Corpus Christi High School pupil Maracha, 16, and 15-year-old Mali Morgan, from Llantwit Major, made the beam final and finished fifth and sixth respectively while Mia Evans, also 15, was the second Welsh gymnast in the floor final and finished eighth.

Stickler, Micallef, Morgan and Evans also turn 16 during 2022 in what, along with Maracha, is their first year as seniors.

Meanwhile in the women’s junior (14-15 years old) category, Welsh junior champion Ruby Evans (Clwb Cymru Caerdydd) retained her British junior women’s all-around title and then followed that up with gold on uneven bars and silver on vault.

There was also a stunning gold in the junior women’s beam final for Clwb Cymru’s Evie Flage-Donovan.

The women’s espoir (12-13 years) gymnasts stole the show on the opening day on Thursday with a stunning Clwb Cymru 1-2-3 in the all-around.

Ellie Lewis won gold from Jemima Taylor and Ffion Burgum who took silver and bronze respectively.

Lewis, who is also the reigning Welsh espoir all-around champion, added gold on uneven bars while Taylor successfully defended her floor title. Burgum took bronze on uneven bars and on floor.

Meanwhile Welsh U16 champion Alex Niscoveanu, who hails from Penarth and trains at South Essex, took British U16 silver behind teammate George Atkins in the all-around competition for the second year running.

Niscoveanu added pommel horse and rings gold while also left with bronze on the parallel bars.

It was yet more success for Niscoveanu who, turning 16 next month, was also the youngest member of the Wales men’s team who won gold at the Northern Europeans in Cardiff last November and is tipped for big things in gymnastics.

There was also Welsh medal success in the Men’s Disability Masters category with Kieron Innes from Fusion Gymnastics winning gold on the rings and bronze on floor.

 

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