Simm sets sights high

Kelly Simm with GB coach Debbie Richardson
Kelly Simm with GB coach Debbie Richardson
The talented City of Portsmouth boys' squad. Picture: Matthew Reeds

Southern region joy for Portsmouth boys

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Kelly Simm is targeting more success at the highest level of international gymnastics in 2014 after an impressive finish to 2013.

The Whiteley gymnast has been working on a new floor routine at a Great Britain training camp in Lilleshall but is also stepping up her preparations for a year that includes national championships, as well as the Commonwealth Games and European and World Championships.

The 18-year-old is clearly already in the plans of the national selectors and will be aiming to seal her place with a good performance at the English Championship in mid-March, followed by the British Championship a fortnight later.

Simm has shown she is well capable of competing against the best in Europe and beyond after her medal-laden performance at a recent international fixture in Arques, France.

Alongside GB junior, Teal Grindle, the pair claimed top spot in the team competition, edging out the Russian pair.

Simm also excelled in her individual events, grabbing a bronze medal in the senior section after some fine results.

While she took seventh place in the floor routine, she was fourth on the beam, claimed a bronze medal on the bars with a personal best and shared the top prize in the vault with Russian Tatiana Nabieva.

But after a short break, Simm has now turned her attentions to the events on the horizon as she goes for some of the top titles.

‘It was really good to finish the year on a high, but now I’m looking forward to trying to continue that this year,’ said Simm. ‘There are some big events coming up.

‘I had a bit of a break over Christmas but I’m back into it now and I’m working towards the English Championships in March and the other events to come after that.

‘I feel like I am improving all the time.

‘I’m working hard and putting in about 30 hours of training every week.

‘But I want to continue working on everything to get myself ready.’

Simm, who trains at Dynamo School of Gymnastics, has had the benefit of her personal coach Debbie Richardson also being selected as a Great Britain coach.

Richardson believes the dedication and training is starting to pay off for the talented gymnast.

Speaking after Simm’s recent showing in France, she said: ‘It was the last competition in what has been a very long and successful season.’

‘To achieve such a high rank in such a prestigious competition was a remarkable achievement and testament to all of her dedication and hard work.

‘However, there will be no let up. The trials for the European Championships and the World Championships are coming up. But we are all extremely proud of her.’