Simm vault banks a gold

Kelly Simm was young sportswoman runner-up at The News Sports Awards last month. Picture: Sarah Standing (14841-6645)
Kelly Simm was young sportswoman runner-up at The News Sports Awards last month. Picture: Sarah Standing (14841-6645)

Pupils welcome British gymnast

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Kelly Simm has somersaulted into prime position for Commonwealth Games selection after landing a British Championship title.

The Whiteley gymnast turned in one of the best performances of her career to storm to gold in the individual final at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, with a flawless vault clocking up 14.700 and 13.750 to record a 14.225 winning average.

While she also made the final of the beam and claimed a creditable sixth place in the all-around title behind champion Rebecca Tunney, Simm was the fourth-best English competitor.

And with five girls selected for the summer event in Glasgow, Simm’s form has surely enhanced her hopes of making the cut – even if she is reluctant to admit it.

‘I think I’m definitely on the right track,’ said Simm.

‘I’m optimistic but you never really know. So I will just keep doing my best and hopefully I will get the call.

‘Five gymnasts will get selected and then three will compete in each piece.

‘There will be a team competition and the top two from each country will qualify for the all-around competition.

‘I’ve got two trials this weekend at Lilleshall but I just have to keep it going.’

Although it’s understandable that the 18-year-old is refusing to count her chickens just yet, it would be hard to fathom how the England selectors could consider leaving out Britain’s top gymnast in the vault.

And if she hadn’t made a mistake on the uneven bars and been strangely marked down on her floor routine, it could have been even better than sixth place.

Simm said: ‘I was hoping to make the top six and it might have been better if I hadn’t made a mistake on the bars.

‘But everything else was good, so I was really happy with my performance.

‘It was great to win the vault – I was delighted to come away with a British title.

‘I don’t really know what happened in the floor routine.

‘I felt I did well but my score came out quite low and none of my coaches know why that happened.

‘I thought it was better than the mark I got because my landings were good.

‘Sometimes that happens, though, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

‘I had a fall in the bars but it’s a new routine and all my connections have changed. I got through my big releases, so I was happy with that.

‘But the fall at the end of the routine meant there was a big deduction.’

There was no denying her from gold in the vault final, though, as Simm produced a moment of brilliance.

She nailed her landing after a back flip on to the vault, to push off into a straight somersault with two twists – the most difficult vault attempted by any of the competitors.

‘It’s quite a new vault, which I started doing last year – so it’s still quite new,’ said Simm.

‘I haven’t seen it back yet but it felt good at the time when I did it.

‘I think I did it about as well as I could and sometimes you just know when you’ve got it right.

‘It was between myself and Claudia Fragapane on the vault and we were both doing the most difficult vault.

‘But I knew if I could do that well, it would give me a really good chance of winning and I was really happy with it. Now I just need to keep it going.’