Gymnasts go up a notch as international competition awaits
Some of the island’s brightest gymnasts were put through their paces in St David’s on Saturday as the Bermuda Gymnastics Association again gears up for international competition.
With the potential for foreign trips on the horizon and selection headaches aplenty, acting head coach Anna Balada took the opportunity to put her young students through their paces and recorded their routines with a view to perfecting their movements.
“This is a mock meet,” Balada said. “The routines will be sent away to be scored so we can make sure that nothing is missing when we then go away and compete.
“With Covid and all the travelling restrictions, we haven’t left the island to compete since February 2020, which is pretty bad, so in order to get the gymnasts used to competing again, we are doing this in-house mock meet to make sure they get into the habit of competing.
“The girls are going to do their routines, we will record them and send them away to judges off island to make sure they have all the requirements to then go away and compete these routines. If something is spotted that needs to be fixed, then we have time to do it.”
Next year is shaping up to be a big one for travel and Balada is composing a training schedule with trips to America on the horizon.
“We took two of our top gymnasts away for a training camp in October to the Gage Centre in Missouri but the next competition will be the end of January, when we go to Daytona for an invitational meet with some gymnasts.
“In February, we are going to the Magical Classic in Florida with more children. In March we have the Bermuda Gymnastics Association meeting here and then in May we are going to Canada.”
Balada is keen to point out the progress made by some of her better gymnasts as they work towards elite level but admits it can be a struggle for children to balance their schedules.
“The top-level gymnasts we have are at level eight, with level ten the top,” Balada said.
“I have four more gymnasts competing at level seven and potentially moving up to level eight as well. We are all working towards elite level, but we are still a bit far away from that because it would involve more hours and we would need to arrange schedules with schools so they could release children early to come to the gym.
“To train at elite level, the gymnasts would need to put in 30 hours a week and at this time it’s not feasible with schools. They are training 17 hours at the moment and it’s hard but the girls are happy, they are learning and step by step they are moving up levels.”
While the girls are performing well, Balada would love to see more boys taking to the floor.
“We are struggling for boys at the moment,” Balada said. “Boys like more parkour, less intense work and they love football so boys gymnastics is not very big at the moment.
“We have some little boys in the recreational programme but we only have three male gymnasts competing, which is a bit sad, but the same is happening all over the world. At least the girls are going well.”