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Local teams set to face each other for first time

Up for the challenge: Anna Balada, the Quality Gymnastics head coach, helps Bella Stowe during a drill at the Old Berkeley Institute. Stowe, 8, will be among the athletes competing at the Bermuda International Gymnastics Challenge at the National Training Centre in St David’s next month

For the first time in history, two local gymnastics clubs will compete against each other at the Bermuda International Gymnastics Challenge in St David’s this month.

The competition will be hosted by the Bermuda Gymnastics Association, whose athletes will take on Quality Gymnastics, who are based at the old Berkeley Institute Gym, on March 17 and 18. Several overseas teams will also taking part, including teams from the United States, Wales, Jamaica, Canada, as well as two Cayman competitors.

The teams will compete in various United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs and USA Gymnastics levels.

Adriana Forde, the BGA head coach, said that having another local club compete in the challenge was an “an exciting development”.

She said: “It’s really great for our athletes to have an opportunity to compete on island as we do spend a lot of time and finances giving them opportunities overseas.”

“We’re excited because there’s a local club, Quality Gymnastics, who will also be competing and hopefully we can continue to have events with them on the island.

“It’s an exciting new development and we want to make sure we provide an opportunity to all of our Bermudian athletes to compete and show their loved ones how hard they’re working and to have that support from the community.”

Forde, who succeeded Duke Nelligan as head coach in August 2015, said the event will also provide an opportunity for the BGA boys’ team, aged 8 to 15, to experience overseas competition.

Peter James, the Quality Gymnastics president, who formed the club in September 2015, said his team were “excited to be part of this milestone in gymnastics” and had been working hard for the past year.

Anna Balada, the Quality Gymnastics head coach, added: “I’m impressed with their growth and improvement in their skill levels within the year; now having the ability to compete both locally and internationally.”

In preparation for the competition, Quality Gymnastics will compete at the Crystal Springs Invitational Meet in New Jersey this weekend.