By now our readers will know that here at Full Twist we are an advocate for the smaller gymnastics Nations. Coming from one ourselves we understand the trials and tribulations of little or no funding and a lack of world class facilities compared to the larger gymnastics Nations. We aim to provide coverage of the smaller nations where possible, especially when success has come their way.
With that, while many other countries may have made history yesterday, we must draw your attention to another historic moment that took place at the WAG Junior Europeans. This is a proud moment for us to discuss. 14 year old Casey Bell made history for Ireland, by making the cut in to the top 24, she secured a place in the All Around final on Friday. This is a feat that has never been achieved by another Irish female gymnast.
Casey trains at City of Lisburn Salto Gymnastics Centre, a full time training facility, under coaches Sun Jie and Kim Kensett – Friar. She began gymnastics at the age of 6 and currently trains four hours a day, 6 days a week as well as fitting school into her schedule. Over the past 5-6 years, we have watched her grow and mature into a strong competitor within the Northern Irish and Irish Gymnastics system. To briefly explain, Casey is from Northern Ireland but is eligible to compete for Ireland at Europeans, Olympic Games, Worlds and other FIG events but can also compete for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games and Northern Europeans.
Currently Casey has one of the most difficult bar routines in Ireland, at age 9 she was performing double layout flyaway dismounts. We have been present at competitions, where the audience and gymnasts present have been silenced as Casey performs on Bars. Her Bar routine at Junior Europeans yesterday had a 4.9 D score, which may seem low compared to other nations but for a country where Bars is generally regarded as the weakest apparatus among WAG, it is a fantastic score. Her high D scores (in comparision to her team mates) meant that she anchored the team, who placed a successful 23rd in the team competition.
Her career highlights include many Irish and Northern Irish Team, Apparatus and All Around titles. She is the current Irish All Around Junior Champion and also holds the title on Bars, Beam and Floor. As well as this she has competed at the UK School Games and within the British Gymnastics system. 2012 saw her take the All Around Espoir title at the Espoir Challenge competition. Her club, Salto, also hold the National Team title and have done for 11 consecutive years. Bell has been a member of this title winning team several times.
Yesterday was a proud moment for Casey, for her club and coaches and for gymnasts throughout Ireland. Her achievement will go a long way to inspire the younger generation of gymnasts coming through the National Squad ranks. Congratulations Casey!
Photo via UEG