Portsmouth starlets propel southern region to glory

Kelly Simm has been selected for Team England's Commonwealth Games squad

Kelly Simm relishing Commonwealth Games return

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STARLETS from Portsmouth Gymnastics Club (PGC) propelled the southern region to glory in the British National Championships.

Maisie Lloyd-Jones, Jamie Lee Fantham and Amelia Rogers, all aged 10, were in the four-strong level two team who finished second at the Guildford Spectrum.

And Katie Church, nine, was reserve for the level four team as they took top prize.

It was a stunning achievement for all the young gymnasts as they took on the best Britain has to offer.

‘The nationals is the highest competition the girls can get to at their age,’ said PGC coach Samantha Maggs.

‘To get selected they had to get in the top five at the Southern Region Championships.

‘For the South to win level four was fantastic for gymnastics in our region. Something really special.

‘It was an incredibly high standard.

‘For our club to have three of the four girls competing at level two was a really big achievement and they were only just pipped to the title.’

Lloyd-Jones, Fantham and Rogers were competing individually, as well as scoring for the team.

Fantham came into the competition with a big reputation to protect as reigning British champion on the floor.

Her impressive displays in previous events had also seen her make the national squad.

But she took the pressure in her stride as she defended her title with a quality display.

Her overall position was knocked down, though, by a rare mistake on the beam.

Lloyd-Jones excelled with consistently-high performances over all the apparatus as she picked up eighth place overall.

She was close behind Fantham on the floor as she picked up third spot.

Maggs said: ‘Jamie Lee is still national champion on the floor.

‘Her tumbling is really good and she had an excellent new floor routine which we had worked so hard on.

‘To have two in the top three in Great Britain on floor – out of a field of around 60 – is fantastic.

‘Maisie is absolutely flying at the moment.

‘She is quite modest and I think she surprised herself with how good she is.

‘She was hugely chuffed to do so well.

‘Amelia put in a nice clean competition which was great.

‘Katie trained and warmed up with the level four squad and she walked away with a gold medal.’