7th April 2018 - Talia Jones

At just 22 years old, Kelly Simm’s wealth of international experience paid off, guiding a very young England gymnastics team to silver in the Commonwealth Games on Friday.

The Team Dynamo gymnast gave four classy performances to secure England’s 2nd position behind Commonwealth champions, Canada, as well as qualifying in second place for the individual all-around final with Canadian Elsabeth Black in pole position.

The key to England’s success was all about consistency, with three of the four routines on each apparatus counting towards the team total. Simm’s vault set the tone for her competition, scoring 13.950, before a strong performance on bars.

17 year old, Georgia-Mae Fenton had one of the stand-out performances from the team final, with an incredible routine on bars.

Her unique style and brilliant execution bagged her the highest overall score on the apparatus and will be the one to beat in the bars final.

Beam is always the make-or-break routine for any team and individual qualification, and the English squad held their nerve. Kelly steadied the ship with her routine, and Alice Kinsella rounded off the apparatus with a complex set of elements to cement England’s medal hopes.

Each of the girls have their own individual style for their floor routines – Simm performed well with an upbeat number, whist Kinsella’s elegance worked wonders. But it was 15 year old Taeja James who stole the show in her first major senior championships. The floor and vault specialist stunned with her floor routine, scoring 14.100 – 0.65 higher than the next highest and will go into the floor final as favourite.

Simm’s previous experiences in international competition and leadership qualities helped to anchor the team to the silver medal despite missing many of the regular senior squad. 

Injuries to the likes of Claudia Fragapane, Amy Tinkler and both Ellie and Becky Downie meant that England were without most of their senior gymnasts for the games in the Gold Coast, but also gave a golden opportunity to the new seniors coming through the ranks, which they took with both hands.

The England girls can hold their heads high and be incredibly proud of their team performance – such a young team can only bode well for future competitions, and the girls still have medal ambitions in the individual finals.

© Copyright South Coast Journalism