Most recently, Jemima Taylor competed for Team GB at the European Youth Olympic Festival, winning Team Bronze alongside Ema Kandalova and Ellie Lewis, and she made the finals in Floor and Vault. Other competitions for Jemima this year have seen her compete in France in a four-way international, and she competed with her Great Britain teammates Abigail Martin and Ema at the Junior World Championships, making the All-Around and Floor finals, and Jemima received a sash for the highest execution score on the Floor in qualifications. Jemima competes for both Team GB and Wales, and has previously attended the Welsh and British Championships, where she became the All-Around champion in the Welsh (closed) event in 2023 and British Floor champion and All-Around silver medallist in 2022. Before competing at junior level, Jemima also had success as an aspire gymnast, winning Gold at the British Teams for Team Wales, a competition she is hoping to return to later this year. We talked to Jemima about competing at this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival for Team GB, becoming champion at the Welsh and British Championships and receiving the sash for the highest execution on Floor in qualifications at the 2023 Junior World Championships.
You most recently competed at the 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival representing Team GB, how was your time in Slovenia?
I absolutely loved my time in Slovenia and it was such a fabulous experience for me to not only compete with my amazing team but to meet people from other sports and countries also. It was such an honour to represent Team GB, who made the experience so enjoyable. I made so many memories, it was a fantastic experience that I will never forget.
How was it winning Bronze in the Team competition alongside your teammates Ema Kandalova and Ellie Lewis?
It was a really unreal moment because it was so unexpected to come away from such a big competition with a medal. It was such a great feeling when the final scores came in and we were so excited. We supported and cheered for each other while competing and I feel that our team spirit played a massive role in securing the Bronze medal.
What was it like competing in the Floor and Vault finals and how did you prepare for the competition?
It felt amazing to have the opportunity to compete in multiple EYOF finals and I thoroughly enjoyed competing my routines. Leading up to the competition, I worked closely with my coaches to stay focused and calm and practised my routines to be as prepared as I could be for the competitions.
What did you enjoy most about competing with Ema and Ellie at EYOF and being part of a major international multi-sport competition?
I really enjoyed competing with Ema and Ellie as part of Team GB because we got to spend time with each other not only on the competition floor but also exploring parts of Slovenia and the athletes village and venue. We always supported each other and have such an amazing bond together that made the experience even better. It was great being part of a major international multi-sport competition as we were able to support and spend time with athletes from other sports in Team GB also, which we all really enjoyed.
In July, you competed in a four-way international in France, can you tell us about this?
It was amazing to be given the opportunity to travel again and experience another international competition. I managed to compete my new full twisting Yurchenko vault for the first time in competition and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the whole competition. I really enjoyed being away with a team again and also meeting gymnasts from other countries.
How did you find the experience representing Great Britain at the Junior World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antalya earlier this year?
It was my first major international competition and it was such an honour to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Championships. I was a bit nervous to compete but mostly excited so I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying every moment. To compete in such a big arena was amazing and having the support from my teammates was even better. We supported each other through every stage of the competition and made memories that will last a lifetime.
You qualified for the All-Around and Floor finals, what were they like to compete in and how did you stay focused throughout the Championships?
It was an incredible feeling to qualify for the All-Around and Floor finals and I didn’t expect it. It was so exciting to compete with such amazing gymnasts and I made so many new friends from different countries. I worked hard with my coaches practising my routines and keeping my composure and being prepared throughout the competitions helped me stay focused.
How did you feel finding out you’d been selected for the Junior World Championships alongside Abigail Martin and Ema, and how was it receiving a sash for the highest execution score on Floor in qualifications?
I was absolutely amazed to find out that I had been selected for the Junior World Championships alongside Abi and Ema. I was shocked and surprised as a first year junior to have the opportunity to compete at a major international for Great Britain. I was really excited and couldn’t contain my excitement, it was a dream come true. Receiving a sash for the highest execution score on the Floor in the qualifications at the World Championships was also a big shock but a very proud moment for me.
What is it like competing at the Welsh and British Championships and how was it becoming Welsh (closed) All-Around champion this year and British Floor champion and All-Around Silver medallist last year?
The Welsh and British Championships are very exciting competitions that I really enjoy competing at. Becoming the Welsh (closed) All-Around champion this year was such an amazing achievement and I competed clean routines within this competition. It was an amazing experience to compete in such a big arena for the first time last year at the British Championships, and becoming British Floor champion and All-Around Silver medallist was also a great moment.
What are some of your favourite highlights from your time as an aspire gymnast and is there anything you are enjoying most about being a junior gymnast for Great Britain and Wales?
Being selected and training with the GB Aspire squad was amazing and I made so many new friends and had so much fun at all the training camps. It was also great to have the opportunity to represent Wales at the British Teams where me and my teammates received the Gold medal. Another highlight for me as an Aspire gymnast was becoming British Floor champion for both years.
I am really enjoying all the opportunities that I have had as a first year junior gymnast such as competing for Great Britain at the Junior World Championships and Team GB at EYOF as well as representing Wales at other competitions also.
Where does your love of gymnastics come from and how did you get into it?
I understand that I was a very ‘busy’ child with a lot of energy and was taken to lots of different activities. Gymnastics seemed to be the activity that I enjoyed the most and I remember attending pre-school sessions in the local church hall with Head Over Heels Gymnastics. When I reached school age, I joined City of Newport Gymnastics Academy when I was four, where my love of gymnastics grew and where I was provided with an opportunity to trial for the Welsh Development Squad. My passion for gymnastics continued to grow especially when I was invited to train with Welsh Gymnastics full-time.
What is a typical training day for you and can you tell us about training at Clwb Cymru Caerdydd?
Normally I train five days a week between four to seven hours a day but this sometimes increases in the summer holidays when there is no school. As I’m still in school, I need to balance my gym and school work so I can get both done. Some days I may come out of school early to get to the gym to do a longer session but I always make sure to catch up on any work missed if needed.
Training at Clwb Cymru Caerdydd is amazing and I love training with all the girls at the gym. I have such fabulous coaches that help us to be the best we can and always support us in our gymnastics and everything we do.
Do you have any favourite gymnasts to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from the gym?
My favourite gymnasts to watch have to be Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova as they are incredible gymnasts and have amazing expressions, choreography and musicality in their Floor routines. Also, we all support each other at Clwb Cymru Caerdydd and I am especially inspired by the older girls.
In my spare time, I like relaxing and spending time with my family. We enjoy playing games, watching movies, going out to do activities and also doing some cooking.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
I think there may be a few more competitions this year, such as the British Teams competition, that I would love to do. In the future, I would love to have the opportunity to compete at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, European Championships or World Championships. That would be the dream!
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