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Forde proud medal-laden start to season

Show of strength: Benjamin Mello will be among the local athletes in action at the International Gymnastics Challenge at the National Training Centre in St David’s this weekend

The Bermuda gymnastics team have already experienced a busy competitive year attending three major invitationals as they look to test their skills overseas.

Since January, 25 Bermuda Gymnastics Association athletes, who are training more than nine hours a week at the National Training Centre in St David’s, have taken part in one or more of those meets.

“It has been a busy eight weeks but well worth the time and effort as our athletes were very competitive at the invitationals we attended,” Adriana Forde, the BGA head coach, said.

The BGA started the season by attending the Tim Daggett National Invitational in Springfield, Massachusetts, where they joined more than 400 competitors.

Bermuda brought home 21 medals — nine gold, four silver and eight bronze — and a second place level-four team award in the boys’ competition.

Two weeks later the BGA sent its higher-level women’s team to the Chicago Style meet to compete at the largest women’s artistic invitational in the world. They then met up with 15 more team-mates, both boys and girls, in Orlando for the Presidential Classic. Between these two events Bermuda brought home another 37 podium medals — ten gold, 11 silver and 16 bronze.

“Our organisation could not be prouder of our athletes’ accomplishments,” Forde continued.

“Our three elite athletes also just returned from L’Internationale Gymnix in Montreal, Canada where they tested this skills against some of the best athlete’s in the world.

“The meets we are selecting are known based on the level of gymnastics competition, which speaks to the improvement we are seeing in our local athletes.

“Being able to take their talent and perform in front of hundreds of spectators and competitors takes confidence and perseverance.

“Each year we look for meets that will challenge our athletes to keep raising the bar.”

This weekend the BGA will host the seventh annual Bermuda International Gymnastics Challenge in St David’s.

Five overseas teams will also be taking part from the United States, Wales, Jamaica, Canada, as well as two Cayman Islands competitors.

“Our BGA boys team are so excited that we have been able to secure an international boys team to participate in our local meet,” Forde added.

“Our boys team have shown some great progress across the three years they have been competing off island.

“Now they will be able to celebrate annually with our girls at our local invitational.”

For the first time the meet will feature another Bermudian team, Quality Gymnastics, who are based at the Old Berkeley Institute.

“Gymnastics is growing on the island, which now has four club programmes that cater to the growth and development of kids through gymnastics movement,” Forde said.

“It is an exciting time for our gymnastics association. We are excited to see gymnastics become more accessible across the island.”