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Gymnasts impress at overseas invitationals

Youngsters from the Bermuda Gymnastics Association outside their Southside training centre

The Bermuda Gymnastics Association has had a very busy start to the season as their competitive team attended three major overseas invitationals over the past two weeks.

More than 24 gymnasts took the opportunity of a mid-term school break to attend up to three competitions, as well as several overseas practice sessions.

They were able to gain experience and test their mastery as each athlete strives to continue challenging higher competitive levels.

Overall, the Bermuda team, who train at the National Training Centre in St David’s, performed impressively on the international stage.

The first competition was the Chicago Style, held at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, and considered the largest women’s gymnastics invitational in the World.

The Bermuda team had 13 athletes competing and finished the competition with four podiums. Eleven-year-old Ella Younie placed highest amongst her team-mates, taking home the title of level six floor champion and a strong second overall.

Team members met up with additional gymnasts from Bermuda in Orlando, Florida, including boys aged 8 to 16, for an equally good showing at the Presidential Classic held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Facility.

The Presidential Classic is the second largest combined event in the United States.

A total of 24 medals were garnered by the Bermuda team. Highlights included six gold medal finishes over the four-day competition from Ella Newton, Azalea Pontes, Tse Burgess, Bethany Cooze, Sanaa Simmons and Ben Mello.

In addition, Burgess, Cooze and Ella Newton earned overall awards in their respective categories.

The final competition, the Magical Classic, was also held in Orlando and hosted more than 2,000 athletes from around the world. Bermuda once again earned podium medals, 11 in total, with three gold-medal finishes on vault from Cooze, Burgress and Sanaa Simmons in their respective age groups. Cooze also finished second overall in level six, and Burgess third overall in level seven.

Adriana Forde, the Bermuda head coach, said: “Some of my favourite moments this weekend were not the gold medals but the team comradery, improved attitudes and scores from athletes that had sub-par warm-ups or performances the day before.

“They came back focused and wanting a chance to show everyone what they could really do”.

Only one more overseas competition remains before the gym hosts its own international event the BIG Challenge from March 15 to 18.