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Forde excited ahead of first competitive meet

Ready and waiting: Forde, left, and Maya Beckles, International Gymnastics Competition director. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Adriana Forde will be involved in her first competition as Bermuda head coach when the fifth annual International Gymnastics Challenge is held at the Southside training centre.

Forde, who succeeded long-serving head coach Duke Nelligan in August, said she was looking forward to a high-quality event and was keen to watch her team in competitive action for the first time.

The two-day challenge, which starts on Friday, will feature 25 Bermudian gymnasts aged between 8 and 17, as well as more than 90 overseas competitors from nine teams.

Many of the visiting teams are no strangers to the Island, having competed here before. The include: Planets Gymnastics, of Massachusetts, Apex Gymnastics Academy, of New York, Flyers Gymnastics Academy, of New Jersey, KMC Dance and Gymnastics, of Pennsylvania, Airborne Gymnastics Academy, of New Jersey, Rainbow Gymnastics, of New Jersey, and Hill’s Gymnastic’s of New York.

“I’m excited to see the dynamic of this meet,” said Forde, who spent the past 16 years coaching at Gymnastics Energy, a non-profit organisation in St Catharines, Ontario, as well supporting the Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association’s programme as a volunteer.

“It’s our first meet of the year so we haven’t set any specific goals for our gymnasts. For many of them it will be first time they have competed in an international event, so it will be a good experience for them.

“We are looking for them to represent Bermuda with pride, show well, and get some great feedback from the judges.

“Many of team overseas teams are returning to the Island, which just shows what a great competition this has been over the years.”

Forde was recommended to the BGA by Nelligan and his assistant Amanda Baughman, who met the Canadian while she was assisting with the Cayman Island’s team at the Junior Pan Am Games in Aracaju, Brazil, in March, 2014.

The 32-year-old said she has relished the first few months in her position and was determined to build on the solid platform laid by her predecessors.

“The previous coaches did such a great job in taking Bermuda gymnastics forward,” Forde said. “There’s so much talent on the Island and we’re looking to improve the work ethic of the gymnasts and help them achieve their dreams.”

The opening day of the challenge will feature the Copper division, while Saturday’s three sessions will include the Bronze, Bronze and Silver, Silver, Gold, and Platinum divisions.