In an interview with South Coast Journalism on Wednesday, new 2018 British All-Around and Bars champion Kelly Simm said she still couldn't believe what she had achieved and didn't know if her accomplishment will ever sink in.
 
Whilst undeniably talented and more than capable of competing against some of the best gymnasts in the world, Kelly could be considered a surprise champion because she has only just returned from the second of two major injuries in as many years.
 
Kelly beat Amy Tinkler to the all-around title with a championship winning score of 53.400 before going onto win the bars title the following day (as well as a bronze medal for the beam).
 
The 22-year old Dynamo School of Gymnastics star admitted that neither her coach or herself look at the results whilst she competes, which meant that Kelly had to be told she was champion.
"We don't look at the scores during, I just focus on myself during the competition. Debbie and Kerri, two of the other women's coaches, were on the floor with us as well, and were tallying it up right to the end."
 
"It was completely unexpected and I am over the moon still. I can't believe it! I don't know if it will ever sink in but it's pretty exciting."
 
Going into the competition, Kelly was looking to continue getting back up to speed with national and international competition again. The British Championships were only the third time since an operation on her ankle that she had competed on all four elements.
"I think, in the back of my mind, I wanted to at least get top 6 and possibly a spot on the podium. The goal was mainly to go in and just do four good routines." Kelly explained. "We came back from America that Monday (Kelly was 5th at the 2018 American Cup) so I was pretty tired so I was looking to stay safe and show the consistency in the competition."
"Just before I went on the bars, they announced that I was Saturday's British champion and I almost laughed. It's so surreal!" Kelly added. "I was happy to be going through that bars routine to show that I could do it."
 
The reaction from Kelly's supporters has been immense, something that the Hamble-based Gymnast has acknowledged on her twitter account. "It's been unreal, to have that kind of support from everyone. Friends, family, people from the club (Dynamo School of Gymnastics), all the young gymnasts and everyone on social media, it has been very overwhelming!"
"I didn't sleep for two days after! I've been reading all the messages and being so excited. I haven't actually seen many people because we came straight from the British Championships to Lilleshall (home of British Gymnastics). So I haven't managed to see anyone other than my parents and people who came to watch. It will be nice to see everyone at the club when I get back there."
 
The Commonwealth Games are just around the corner for Kelly and the rest of the England's gymnastics team, who go to the Gold Coast in Australia without Claudia Fragapane, but Kelly felt that her new title hadn't changed the game plan too much.
 
"Claudia is a massive loss to our team and we're going to have to pull together much more as a team without her. We are focusing on a team medal. Personally, I just want to do four good routines out there and I'll be concentrating on just my performances."
 
"I still have to be very careful because sometimes injuries do flare up again. In training I do still have to be very careful and there is so much more I still need to improve on, like the execution and tidying things up a bit. I need to get my fitness back up still and get the routine consistency so I can get the numbers in before we fly out."
 
"We fly out next Sunday but then we have a week out there so we need to do a lot of building up over the next fortnight to make sure that we are fit enough when we compete."
The 2018 Commonwealth Games run between the 4th and 15th of April 2018 and you can follow Kelly's progress, as well as other representatives from the south coast, on our website throughout. 

 

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