Kelly Simm aiming to bring more Commonwealth Games medal success for Dynamo School of Gymnastics

KELLY SIMM

KELLY SIMM

First published in Sport Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by , Non-league football reporter

HER training partner Laura Edwards pocketed team silver at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Now Kelly Simm is the next talented member of Hamble’s Dynamo School of Gymnastics aiming to wear her country’s colours with pride.

The 19-year-old from Whiteley, near Fareham, has been trying on her England kit for size ahead of 2014 Commonwealth Games which open in Glasgow on July 23.

Renowned for her tumbling strength, Simm has been described as one of the powerhouses of the English women’s artistic gymnastics squad.

And she is itching to do Dynamo and her country proud on the Commonwealth stage – just as her currently injured teammate Edwards did in India in 2010.

Looking forward to the whole Glasgow experience, Simm said: “I’m so excited.

“Laura has been my training partner for years and I’ve asked her lots about the 2010 Games.

“She says it was amazing and what a great atmosphere there was in the village.

“Having the Games in Scotland is great. It will be like home.

“All my family have got tickets.

“My mum, Heather, and dad, Craig, come to all the international events. They love it and hopefully my nan and granddad will be there too.

“I’ve got a brother, Alex, who’s two years younger than me, but he’s not a gymnast, he plays football for Fareham.”

Having made her Great Britain debut in 2010, Simm has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of Dynamo’s directors of gymnastics Keith and Debbie Richardson.

In her breakthrough season of 2012 she ranked ninth all-around at the British Senior Championships, taking bronze on vault.

But her successes were not restricted to the domestic stage. She flourished internationally too, beating a couple of Russian opponents to all-around gold at an international in Arques, France.

In 2013 she took vault silver at the British Championships and this year she somersaulted to the very top of the podium at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, scoring a 14.225 average over her two routines to strike vault gold along with all-around sixth place.

The former Henry Cort Community College student took up the sport as a ‘gym tot’ at the age of six.

Now, having just completed her final exams at Itchen College, Simm is heading for Southampton Solent University in the autumn to study sports science.

She devoted 30 hours a week to gymnastics in the build-up to Commonwealth Games selection, attending college in the mornings and training at Dynamo’s Hamble Community Sports College headquarters in the afternoons.

Hard work, discipline and dedication have been key to her progress, but there’s been no shortage of enjoyment along the way.

“It’s hard work when you’re tired and stuff, but I’ve always loved it,” smiled Simm.

“I’ve competed for Great Britain for a few years now and I’ve had the chance to go on loads of trips and seen so many cool places.

“When I got the email from the head of English Gymnastics telling me I’d been selected for the Commonwealth Games, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited I was jumping around the house.

“I always get nervous ahead of big competitions, but I can control the nerves more now than when I was younger. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’d be happy to go to Glasgow and get a good team result – and I’d love to make the vault final.”

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