Pipers Vale stakes Olympic claim

THREE times Olympic and seven times World Champions, Romania, won the Friendly International Meeting against the British Team on Saturday by five points.

THREE times Olympic and seven times World Champions, Romania, won the Friendly International Meeting against the British Team on Saturday by five points - 237.200: 232.200, at the Pipers Vale Gym Centre in Ipswich.

While the host team competed without the 2006 World and European Champion on A. Bars, Beth Tweddle, the guests were led by their best gymnasts, the world recognised stars Steliana Nistor, winner in the All-around with 61.000pts and Sandra Izbasa, third, 59.200.

The Romanian team, who regained their European title in Clermont Errand, France in April, included Andreea Acatrinei (fourth, 57.350, Andreea Grigore, fifth equal with Marissa King, 57.300, Daniela Druncea, eight, 56.850 and Gabriela Dragoi, ninth, 56.550. Anamaria Tamirjan pulled out of the competition on the day.

Beckie Downie won the silver medal in the All-around (60.750) which is, indeed an excellent achievement and a promise for the approaching Olympic Games.

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It was also good to see Imogen Cairns regaining her competitive form after a long break because of an injury (seventh place, 56.950). Keyleigh Cook (10 AA) excelled on Beam, Hannah Whelan (11 AA), on Vault, Emma White (12 AA), on Floor, and Rebecca Wing (who didn't compete on Floor), contributed strongest for the team's score on Bars.

Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre's head coach Andy Woods is hoping that his club has impressed enough to persuade the reigning Olympic champions to consider using Ipswich as a training venue for the London 2012 Olympics.

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He said: “The more of these international fixtures we hold at Pipers Vale, the more chance we have got of attracting a top class team here in 2012.

“This weekend we have tried to provide the whole package for the Romanians. We picked them up from Norwich airport and have taken them back and forth from the hotel to the club.

“Hopefully they will consider us as a 2012 training venue because we are little bit out the way and it would give them an opportunity to be away from the limelight a bit.”

Team Ipswich's Olympics training camps brochure was presented to the Romanian delegation at a reception before the international competition. The presentation was made by Judy Terry, Leisure portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council.

The brochure highlights local sporting and accommodation facilities in the Ipswich area suitable for a training team prior to 2012, one of them the Pipers Vale gym centre. Cllr Terry told the Romanians: "Today we would like to officially launch our Ipswich training solutions guide, highlighting our excellent sporting facilities and support package available in and through the town."

Individual results:

Individual all round: 1 61.0 Seliana Nistor (Rom), 2 60.750 Beckie Downie (GB), 3 59.2 Samdra Ozbasa (Rom), 4 57.35 Andreea Acatrinei (Rom), 5= Andreea Grigore (Rom) and Marissa King (GB), 7 56.950 Imogen Cairns (GB), 8 56.850 Daniela Druncea (Rom), 9 Gareiela Dragoi (Rom), 10 56.1 Kayleigh Cooke (GB).

Overall score: Romania 237, Great Britain 232.

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