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Gymnastics history in the making

Randy Bennett

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GymnasticS fans are in for a thrill at the Concorde Experience.
Better known as a venue for official functions and parties, the Concorde Experience will host the island’s first international gymnastics competition, the Barbados Gymnastics Invitational 2012 tournament, on Saturday.
During a Press conference at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) last Thursday, president of the Barbados Amateur Gymnastics Association (BAGA) Jukka Terho confirmed that one of aims of the initiatives was to give Barbadians a chance to see the talents of their home-grown gymnasts.
He revealed that 40 local gymnasts ranging in age from eight to 18 were scheduled to compete, with 110 overseas entrants coming from Trinidad and Venezuela, all competing between levels one and ten and ranging from eight to 18 years old.
“Our gymnasts have to travel three or four times a year to compete in international events and this means that on most occasions their parents, family and friends don’t ever get to see them compete.
“This competition will now afford Barbadians the opportunity to see our local gymnasts,” Terho said.
Head coach of the national team Allison Jackson believes it has what it takes to turn in a good performance.
She revealed that the team had travelled to Orlando, Florida in February to take part in an international tournament and had performed creditably, gaining several medals.
She said it was a junior event and while the level would not be the same as that of the Olympics it would still be a quality competition.
“This isn’t an Olympic-standard competition but moreso one which shows how those gymnasts get to the level where they are at,” Jackson explained.
“Gymnastics is one of those sports where you win some and you lose some because sometimes you can have an off-day. But our gymnasts can hold their own and I expect them to do very well.
“Although this is a junior tournament it will still be an exciting and entertaining event and I am urging all Barbadians to come out and support the Barbadian gymnasts.”
Gymnasts Fiona Armstrong and Danielle Humphrey said they were excited about the prospect of competiting.
Both girls, who are nine years old and at level four, were also part of the team to Orlando. They have represented Barbados on numerous occasions.
The gymnasts will be evaluated by five judges from the United States Gymnastics Association, with head judge Rene Nicolai being Brevet qualified, which means she is qualified to judge at the Olympics.