Rhythmic girls make history as Green sets the pace in relay
The University of Bath-based GB rhythmic gymnastics group made a piece of history today by becoming the first British team to compete in the group competition at an Olympic Games.
The group of Louisa Pouli, Rachel Smith, Jade Falkner, Lynne Hutchison, Georgina Cassar and Frankie Fox have been training full-time at the University for over a year with the goal of competing at the Olympics.
Cheered on by a big home crowd at the Wembley Arena and by a smaller but equally enthusiastic group watching the big screen at their Sports Training Village training base – the group produced a beautiful display for the routine with five balls. Their score of 24.150 for the first of two qualifying round routines put them in 11th place.
Afterwards team captain Rachel Smith said: “It’s one of the best routines we’ve done and to do it out there as Britain’s first ever Olympic group is amazing.
“The crowd were unbelievable and we just hope they enjoyed it as much as we did,” she added. “It’s our aim to get as many people as possible watching our sport and to raise the profile as much as we can during the Games.”
They return to action for the second routine, with ribbons and hoops, tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. The top eight teams from 12 progress to the final on Sunday.
Meanwhile in athletics, University of Bath Sports Performance student Jack Green was the star performer for the GB 4x400m relay quartet, producing a stunning third leg in today’s heats.
Picking up the baton in third place, some way behind the frontrunners, he handed it over to Martyn Rooney in joint first. Rooney crossed the finish line alongside Trinidad & Tobago in 3:00.38 to progress to tomorrow’s (Friday) final.
Jack, who is coached by Malcolm Arnold – UK Athletics National Events Coach Hurdles – clocked the fastest split among the GB runners with a time of 44.42 seconds. On Saturday Jack missed out on a place in the 400m hurdles final when he hit a hurdle in his semi.
After today’s relay run he said: “I wanted a chance to run after my disappointment in the 400m hurdles. I had a lot to prove and I would like to think I deserve to be on this stage.”
Dai Greene is also in the GB 4x400m squad but did not feature in today’s heats. The final takes place in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow (Friday) night.
University of Bath Sports Performance student Danny Talbot is a member of the Team GB 4x100m relay squad – round one takes place tomorrow night.
And French and Politics graduate Marilyn Okoro is member of the women’s 4x400m relay squad, which opens its campaign on Friday night.
Medals won by athletes with University of Bath links
Silver: Michael Jamieson (Sports Performance) – swimming, 200m breaststroke
Gold: Heather Stanning (Sports Technology) & Helen Glover – rowing, women’s pair
Silver: Gemma Gibbons (Sports Performance) – judo, under-78kg
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Athletics photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire