Despite the restrictions and new situations that we all have had to adjust to, this has not stopped OHS girls from pursuing the myriad of activities that they get up to outside the school walls.
Back in November 2019, Flora (10G) and her rhythmic gymnastics team successfully qualified to be in the National British Team! Ideally, they would have attended training camps every two months throughout 2020 at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall to train with the national coaches. However, the past year has been far from normal and the second training camp only took place last month, which Flora attended.
We recently caught up with Flora to talk about her experience and love for the sport.
How have you found the camps so far?
It has been a great experience so far, though it has definitely pushed us. Our first camp in January 2020 was very exciting – it was our first time training with Maria Gateva (the head national coach) and staying at the venue. The trainings are very intense: 8 to 9 hours a day for 2 to 3 days, and include conditioning, ballet, flexibility, drills, and routine practice. Once we were coached by retired rhythmic gymnast Lynne Hutchison, who competed in the group event at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain – it was amazing to learn from her!
That’s a very busy and intense training schedule, indeed! How did you become interested in the sport?
I started rhythmic gymnastics when I was 8 years old, and I became interested in it because of my mum. She was a rhythmic gymnast herself when she was younger, so she introduced me to the sport. I really enjoyed my first session at the local club so I kept going!
What are some of your most memorable moments and proudest accomplishments so far in your sporting career?
In 2018, my group and I competed in the National Espoir Group League and we won first place overall! This was a really proud moment for me, especially as I was the captain of the group. Another memorable experience was, of course, qualifying for the National British Team in 2019. It was our first year as Juniors so we felt even happier to be selected. Also, my team and I have repeatedly travelled to Bulgaria and participated in the camps led by Silviya Miteva, a Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast who won two bronze medals in the 2011 World Championships. It was amazing to meet her and her coach and to train in her facilities!
Finally, what do you love most about rhythmic gymnastics?
I love how unique it is, especially with the apparatus – ball, hoop, clubs, rope, and ribbon. Each one is different to use, and I love the satisfaction of catching and nailing a new throw or skill. I also love the aspect of it that comes from dance – performing to the music and expressing myself – and having to cooperate with my teammates and move as one.
Though COVID has cancelled or postponed numerous competitions all over the country, Flora and her rhythmic gymnastics team are still as energetic as ever, training together as much as they can and sending recorded videos of their routines to online competitions.
Congratulations on this superb achievement, Flora! We couldn’t be more proud of you. We wish you all the best in the upcoming training camps and future tournaments.