Lloyd-Jones showcases potential on England debut

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The talented City of Portsmouth boys' squad. Picture: Matthew Reeds

Southern region joy for Portsmouth boys

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A strong performance from Maisie Lloyd-Jones propelled her to the finals of the floor and vault competitions on her England international debut.

The 12-year-old was in brilliant form in the International Rushmoor Rose Bowl battle as she thrived in the spotlight.

Lloyd-Jones, who trains at Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre (PGC), was the youngest competitor to reach the finals of the world-class event.

She lined up alongside top gymnasts from Switzerland and Canada, as well as the Great Britain juniors.

Competing for the England B side, Lloyd-Jones showcased her raw skills and immense potential with flawless floor and vault routines in the all-round competition.

The PGC star nearly secured a medal in the vault final, missing out by just 0.15 of a point.

Her performances lit up the competition – one of the biggest on the calendar and the longest-running invitational gymnastics event in the UK.

PGC coach Tina Field was delighted to see Lloyd-Jones shine so bright.

She said: ‘Everyone at PGC is incredibly proud of Maisie’s first performance in the England team.

‘Despite being the youngest on finals day, Maisie was catching the eyes of other gymnasts and coaches.

‘Throughout the two days of competing, Maisie was a credit to herself.

‘She was very excited to make two of the finals and gave her all in every routine.

‘In the vault final, she missed out on a bronze medal by just 0.15, reflecting how confident and outstanding her performances were against international gymnasts.

‘She has exceeded all of our expectations at PGC, due to hard work and dedication in her training.

‘Despite lacking some of the difficulty of the routines of the older girls, she showed she has the ability to go so much further.’

As so often happens in gymnastics, a sport where the margins between success and failure are so narrow, not everything went to plan for Lloyd-Jones.

On the bars she suffered a fall when her hair caught in her hand guards but she battled on with the support of the crowd and her England team-mates.

She also lost her footing on the beam but demonstrated great determination to recover the situation.

Imitating a bush baby holding on to its mum, she held onto the beam from underneath to avoid touching the floor.

She recovered well and performed a solid dismount.

Councillor Linda Symes, the city council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, is impressed with Lloyd-Jones’ progress.

She said: ‘Congratulations to Maisie and her coach on their recent success.

‘It’s lovely to see such a young talent doing so well against international competitors.

‘We are thrilled to have such a superstar training at our fantastic Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre.

‘Maisie’s commitment to training, and her coach’s dedication, has enabled Maisie to compete at such a high level and we are very proud of them both.’

Lloyd-Jones is following in the footsteps of Great Britain star Claudia Fragapane who made her name at the Rushmoor competition.

Next up for Lloyd-Jones is the British Espoir Championships in Glasgow.