The University of Bath-based senior rhythmic gymnastics group have taken a step closer to qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games by securing a place at the test event in January.
The seven-strong training group are aiming to become the first British team to compete in the group competition at an Olympic Games.
They faced a key challenge at the weekend when they had to exceed a set mark in their two performances at the National Group Championships in Cardiff to earn a place at the test event at the North Greenwich Arena in January.
They have to produce another strong performance at the London 2012 test event to keep their Olympic dream alive.
The seven-strong group are entirely self-funded and have been training full-time at Team Bath since July with the aim of qualifying for the Games. They have to achieve a series of selection and performance targets to have a chance of securing a host nation place to compete at 2012.
Their next challenge is at the London Prepares Series test event at the North Greenwich Arena from 16 to 18 January, when they will compete alongside world champions Italy as well as the teams finishing in seventh to 12th places at September’s World Championships – Ukraine, Switzerland, France, Israel, Greece and Spain – who are also bidding to qualify for 2012.
The group had to achieve a score of 41.2 to qualify for the test event and they did it in style at the National Group Championships scoring 43.4.
The group features seven athletes – Annie Bartlett, Francesca Fox, Georgina Cassar, Jade Faulkner, Louisa Pouli, Lynne Hutchison and Rachel Smith.
They have been coached by Sarah Moon since January and they made the decision to come together to train full-time in Bath from July to give them the very best chance of achieving the standard they need to to get to 2012.
Sarah said: “I’m really proud of the squad. They’ve made a big commitment and what they’ve achieved to get this far is fantastic. We’re really looking forward to the test event in January, it will be an amazing experience.”
They return to action at a competition in Zaragoza in Spain from 9 to 11 December when they will face many of the teams that will compete in the test event.
The University of Bath is The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year’ 2011/2012.
For further information about sport at the University of Bath please contact the Team Bath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 383518 or 07765 071683.