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Hundreds flock to baton twirling contest in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:02 01 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:58 01 July 2010

Chloe Foxhall from Yarmouth at tjhe British Open Baton Twirling Championships

Chloe Foxhall from Yarmouth at tjhe British Open Baton Twirling Championships

Sam Emanuel

A mist of glitter and hairspray descended on Norwich this weekend as nearly 400 keen athletes made their way to the annual Baton Twirling British Open.

A mist of glitter and hairspray descended on Norwich this weekend as nearly 400 keen athletes made their way to the annual Baton Twirling British Open.

The tournament, held at the Sportspark at the University of East Anglia, saw baton twirlers from 55 clubs nationwide competing in categories for individuals, groups and teams.

With 21 coveted British Open titles to be won, the participants - ranging in age from nine to 34 - were out to impress the judges with their athletic prowess and stylistic routines.

The Elysian Twirlers, based in Yarmouth, were one of the Norfolk teams to enter, and were represented by 14-year-old Amy Wheeler-Smith and 21-year-old Taryn Bailey.

Pearl Deeks, who runs the club, said: “They had a brilliant time. Amy came third in the junior level solo freestyle, and Taryn came fifth in the senior level solo freestyle. They also did a pairs routine together and came fifth, so we were delighted.”

Open to the public, the tournament started on Saturday morning with an opening ceremony and speeches, and the competition started with preliminary rounds running until 8pm that evening.

Sunday saw the finals and highly anticipated awards ceremony, where winners received their medals, trophies and commemorative sashes.

The British Baton Twirling Sports Association (BBTSA), a national organisation created to promote baton twirling, is determined to raise the sport's profile.

Maria Rowe, assistant director of sports and PE at Sportspark, said: “We're delighted to be holding the Baton Twirling British Open at Sportspark again this year.

“Baton Twirling is an exciting expression of the body through dance and movement - demonstrating strength, flexibility and physical fitness. It's not just a case of throwing a baton up in the air and catching it, it takes real athleticism.

“Routines are choreographed to music and incorporate gymnastic moves along with skilled manipulation of the baton, and for people watching, it is quite a spectacular show.”

For more information about Sportspark, membership or events, contact Sportspark reception on 01603 592 398.

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