The Senior and Junior Irish MAG teams have arrived in France for a training camp, ahead of the European Championships in Montpellier next week. The week long camp will serve as a means of team bonding and preparation for some of the gymnasts biggest competition to date. Taking place at one of French Gymnastics National Training Centres, AVT Gymnastique in Avignon. These training camps are seen as positive, where the gymnasts get together ahead of competition and can see what everyone is doing, bond, form relationships and increase camaraderie between the teams. This week will be invaluable to the gymnasts, many of whom train in the UK. For some gymnasts the climate and time difference will take soe getting used to before competition next week.
Heading up the Senior team are three of Ireland’s most experienced gymnasts Luke Carson, Rohan Sebastian and Kieran Behan. 22 year old Luke, a Commonwealth Games All Around finalist was forced to withdraw from last years Europeans due to injury. He regularly competes as a guest on the British circuit, last year placing an unofficial 10th at the MAG British Championships AA competition ahead of Sam Oldham who was 11th. It was in fact new Irish team mate Andrew Smith who beat Carson to 9th place. Smith has been making his mark on the International stage since declaring for Ireland this year. At his first World Cup in Cottbus, he placed 4th in the Floor final and again two weeks later in Doha. Rohan Sebastian (21) may be more well known to some as a gymnast of the University of Michigan in the USA, he was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. He last competed for Ireland at the 2011 Tokyo World Championships. Born in Ireland to Indian parents, Sebastian grew up in Oklahoma City, training at Dynamo Gymnastics with coach Binh Le and at Bart Conner Gymnastics with ’94 and ’97 All Around World Champion Ivan Ivankov. Of course, Kieran Behan is now a household name among the Irish. Behan made his mark on the International scene towards the end of 2010, winning the World Cup Series Floor title. In January, he earned his Olympic berth, becoming the first ever Irish gymnast to do so without the means of a Wild Card.
Joining these four gymnasts are travelling reserve Anthony O’Donnell and 2012 European Team competitor Chris O’Connor. O’Donnell (21) most recently won Ireland’s first Northern European medal, finishing third on floor in Uppsala last November. At the same competition O’Connor also made the floor final. O’Donnell has previously competed at both European and World Championships, this will be both gymnasts second European Championships. The Senior Team will be coached by Barry Winch and Darren Gerrard.
Ireland also has a bright future ahead with the Juniors coming through. The team is made up of 2012 Celtic Cup gold and bronze medalists Jack Neill and Adam Dalton. Joining them will be Dalton’s Douglas team mate Daniel Fox, Luke Pearce and Shane Lyndon. This will be a second outing to Junior Europeans for both Fox and Dalton. The team will be managed by Tom Dillon and coached by Simon Gale and Tim O’Donovan.
The team will continue training and will compete in some control competitions this week. Full Twist will be joining Team Ireland in Montpellier next week. Fans and friends can leave their messages of good luck in the comments below, we will ensure that the boys see them.