RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Commonwealth Games hopeful Halford unveils new routines in Estonia

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cricklade rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford Cricklade rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford

THE WELSH rhythmic gymnastics coach Nia Thomas insists Cricklade’s Laura Halford is on track with her preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year after her first international competition of 2014.

Halford travelled to Tartu in Estonia for the 19th renewal of the Miss Valentine competition and unveiled new routines in all four disciplines – ball, hoop, clubs and ribbon.

Laura earned herself an 18th place in the ball after picking up a penalty and 11th in the hoop. On day two of the contest, she took 13th in the clubs and finally 17th in the ribbon.

Thomas said: “The competition was a good experience for the girls (Laura was accompanied by Nikara Jenkins from Llanelli) as they have both changed all four routines in response to the change in code.

“We wanted to put the new routines out-there as we had no idea where we stood with the new code*.

“It is early in the season so there were a few mistakes but plenty of positives to be taken from the competition, which was a very high-level event.

“The performances are on track with Laura and Nikara’s priorities and preparations for Glasgow 2014.”

The traditional Miss Valentine tournament attracted gymnastic talent from across Europe including Ukraine’s London 2012 Olympic all-around finalist Ganna Rizatdinova.

Laura is now preparing for the Millennium Cup competition in Vancouver, Canada on February 22-24.

*The rhythmic code is improved every four years after an Olympic cycle. The code is a judging system used to outline the difficulty values of skills and how each skill should be performed.

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