Kinsella leads next generation of British gymnasts at Gold Coast 2018

Alice Kinsella starred with three medals as Britain’s young female gymnasts won an impressive six medals at 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Kinsella, who turned 17, less than a month ago, won gold on the balance beam, silver in the team event and bronze in the individual all-around competition.

These excellent performances set the Basildon-born gymnast up superbly for a tilt at Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020.

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Kinsella is far from the only star of the English gymnastics team at Gold Coast 2018, particularly as one of her medals came in the team event.

For that competition, she was joined in the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre (pictured above) by Georgia-Mae Fenton (aged 17), Lucy Stanhope (16), Kelly Simm (22) and Taeja James (15).

Fenton followed her team success with gold on the Uneven Bars and Simm claimed silver on the balance beam. Meanwhile, Latalia Bevan earned Wales’ fourth medal in Commonwealth gymnastics history when she won silver in the floor final.

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These achievements will give the British selectors plenty to think about ahead of future gymnastics championships when Great Britain’s established athletes return to fitness.

England were missing four well-known gymnasts at Gold Coast 2018. Claudia Fragapane, who memorably won four golds at Glasgow 2014, tore her achilles in training about a month before this year’s Games.

Amy Tinkler, who won Olympic bronze on the floor at Rio 2016, tore ankle ligaments just weeks before she was due to travel to Australia.

Ellie Downie, who became the first British gymnast to win a major all-around title at the European Championships in Cluj in April 2017, underwent ankle surgery last summer and was not yet ready to compete.

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And Becky Downie, the two-time European uneven bars champion, tore a ligament in her elbow at the 2017 European Championships and is still recovering.

If all four had been fit, then Kinsella may have been the only inexperienced gymnast in the England women’s team at Gold Coast 2018.

However, the absence of the established athletes may turn out to be an advantage for Britain in Tokyo 2020 as it has given Fenton, Simm, Stanhope and James the opportunity to compete at a major global event.

The experience they have gained will be invaluable if they are selected again by their country for a big event. And their performances have been excellent, so they have demonstrated to the selectors that they can be medal contenders.

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Some have more chance of future selection than others. Kinsella is obviously the biggest success at Gold Coast 2018 and has surely cemented her place in the team; Fenton’s gold will encourage the selectors to consider choosing her ahead of Becky Downie for future uneven bars events; and James qualified for the floor final even though she is only 15.

To further complicate matters for the selectors, they may also think about including Wales’ Bevan in future floor events. It has definitely been a great Games for Britain’s young female gymnasts.

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