By Carl Field
Wales will be represented by full men’s and women’s teams at next month’s artistic gymnastics Northern European Championships in Finland after selection was confirmed.
Jyväskylä plays host to this year’s event from November 18-20.
The women’s team features four of the five gymnasts who represented Team Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in Mia Evans (Park Wrekin) and senior Clwb Cymru trio Poppy-Grace Stickler, Jea Maracha and Sofia Micallef. The other team member from Birmingham, Mali Morgan, misses out through injury.
As juniors Mia Evans, Stickler and Maracha were all part of the Wales team who won gold in the women’s team competition at the 2019 Northern Europeans in Iceland.
They are joined in the six-strong women’s line-up by juniors Ruby Evans and Evie Flage-Donovan (both Clwb Cymru).
🏴 | 𝗡𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀 2022
Full teams for both MAG and WAG have been selected to represent Wales at the upcoming Northern European Championships.
📅 18-20th November
📍 Jyväskylä, Finland
Congratulation to all gymnasts, coaches & clubs on their selection 👏 pic.twitter.com/CtVT4LgVqr
— Welsh Gymnastics (@WelshGymnastics) October 23, 2022
The latter duo’s selection comes following an impressive year for both.
Ruby Evans won the Welsh junior title in February, before making it back-to-back British junior all-around titles the following month in Liverpool – where Flage-Donovan won junior Artistic British Championship gold on the beam.
Both were selected to represent Team GB at the 2022 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Slovakia in July, where Ruby Evans bagged a brilliant silver medal on the vault. Both then also went on to represent Great Britain’s junior women’s team at the 2022 European Championships in Munich in August.
At the 2021 Northern Europeans, staged in Cardiff last November, a men’s team featuring Commonwealth Games gymnasts Brinn Bevan, Joe Cemlyn-Jones, Jacob Edwards and Emil Barber won team gold for Wales, with Cemlyn-Jones also securing individual all-around honours.
For this year’s event, an exciting looking up-and-coming men’s team has been selected, with Theo-Amari Ochana (Heathrow), YMCA Barry pair Sammi Morgan and Michael Tang, Henry Lewis (Leeds), Harrison Harris (Valleys Gymnastics Academy) and Iwan Scrivens (Fusion) all named.
@WelshGymnastics North Area Gymspire 2022 is underway! Good Luck to all the gymnasts competing! Thank you to @DeesideGymClub for hosting this years event pic.twitter.com/PpJmfQLxnc
— Ceri Sass (@CeriSass) October 22, 2022
Ochana won a senior all-around silver medal at the Welsh Artistic Championships in Cardiff back in February where Scrivens also won the U18 all-around title.
At the Artistic British Championships in March, Lewis (vault) and Scrivens (pommel horse) both qualified to individual U18 apparatus finals, while Tang was an U18 all-around finalist at the British. Sammi Morgan, meanwhile, is Mali Morgan’s older brother.
Also part of the travelling Wales delegation to Finland will be coaches Tracey Skirton-Davies, Carol Sargeant, Pete Haysham and Tom Barnes, along with judges Sarah Twose, Paul Edwards and Chris Jones as well as Sian Knott (physio/head of delegation).
Other nations also due to compete at the 2022 Northern Europeans include England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Jersey and hosts Finland.
The 2021 Northern Europeans were held over a memorable weekend in Cardiff last November. Re-live the action here: Northern Europeans 2021: Wales men win team gold to cap memorable weekend (welshgymnastics.org)