Dacorum gymnastics enters a golden era

Sapphire trio from left, Gabby Jupp, Teal Grindle and Eleanor Thompson at the British Gymnastics Championships 2013. Inset, Max Whitlock. Picture (c) Alan Edwards
Sapphire trio from left, Gabby Jupp, Teal Grindle and Eleanor Thompson at the British Gymnastics Championships 2013. Inset, Max Whitlock. Picture (c) Alan Edwards

It was a weekend to remember for gymnastics in Dacorum as Max Whitlock and Gabby Jupp both won gold at the British Championships in Liverpool.

Hemel man Max ended GB team-mate Dan Purvis’ reign as champion with a new personal best score, while Sapphire gymnast Gabby took women’s gold in her first major senior event.

The victory continues an electric start to the year for double Olympic medallist Max, who also won the individual title at the English Championships earlier this month.

With fellow Team GB gymnasts Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith absent from the competition, Max went to Liverpool as one of the favourites to take the title.

And the 20-year-old Adeyfield man did not disappoint as he finished more than three points clear of Purvis with an impressive all-round score of 90.650.

Max also picked up gold on the high bar, as well as winning silver on the floor, pommel horse and parallel bars – helping him to an incredible ten-medal haul.

And Max admitted that the results he has achieved since last summer’s games have given him confidence that he can go on and challenge the world’s best gymnasts.

“I’m really happy and I couldn’t have asked for a better competition,” he said. “To get the British title really means a lot to me.

“It’s the best score I’ve ever got which is an achievement in itself and I’m really focusing on coming out as an all-round gymnast now.

“Dan Purvis has come fourth in the world before and he is an unbelievably talented all-round gymnast so to beat him shows me that I have the potential to beat other top competitors.”

Gabby, meanwhile, was also in sparkling form at the championships – recording a score of 56.10 to take the overall British title.

The 15-year-old then went on to win silver on bars and gold on beam and floor in the individual apparatus competition.

Gabby’s Sapphire team-mate Teal Grindle also impressed, in the Espoir 11 to 13-year-olds’ age category, as she won gold on both beam and floor and bagged a silver on bars.

Sapphire’s Eleanor Thompson added to the Dacorum medal haul with bronze in the senior vault final, while Imogen Davies competed in the junior section of the competition.

And Max admits he is enjoying spearheading the charge as gymnastics in Dacorum goes from strength to strength.

“I’m not totally sure why it is to be honest but we all had an excellent weekend,” he said. “Hemel is producing a lot of talented gymnasts all at the same time.”