Anadia, Portugal World Cup Challenge

18th-25th May 2015

World Cup events are ranked high among all international competitions. The best gymnasts from around the world come to take their place on their specialist pieces, creating an exciting but challenging experience. 

British Gymnastics sent myself along with Nile Wilson, Dom Cunningham and Brinn Bevan to the Anadia Grand Prix.

After two days of training and settling in, it was time for qualification. Nile, Brinn and Dom had all made a final on the first day of qualifications; I didn’t want to be left behind so the pressure was on. First up were parallel bars. We were not allowed a warm up prior to our routine on the competition kit making it slightly harder to control the nerves. I got through my routine with a couple shakes towards the end but scored a respectable 15.050 qualifying in 3rd.

Next up, High bar. Everything was going well, all releases caught, in bar elements controlled until…dismount. After watching many of the other gymnasts slip off of the bar, I knew grip could be an issue towards the end, during my last couple skills, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the grip but there is not much you can do mid routine. On the under swing of my dismount the force ripped my hands away from the bar sending me 1st class to the floor. After 1 ¼ somersaults my head took initial impact with the rest of me closely following. 

A video posted by Ashley Watson (@ashwatson92) on

I quickly re-found consciousness and presented to the judges. I was very lucky to come out of it un-harmed and able to still compete on Sundays final on P.bars. The whole ordeal made me remember just how dangerous and hard we push the limits of our bodies. This is easily forgotten when doing these skills on a daily bases.   

Finals day came quickly, the day when it counts the most, the day you metaphorically ‘bring home the bacon’. 16.11pm was my time slot however Vault ran quickly and the competition was ahead of time, making my warm-up somewhat rushed. After lining up for the judges and watching the first couple of guys, it was ‘game time’. A quick sand paper, Syrup and chalk to prepare the bars; I was ready.  A well-controlled routine with a solid dismount: 15.250, Improving my qualification score by 2 tenths to take 3rd place and my first World Cup medal.

A video posted by Ashley Watson (@ashwatson92) on

Overall the trip was a major success in cementing my name as a world contender and proof that my ability to compete under high pressure is rock-solid.