Bermuda gymnasts to compete abroad for first time in two years
Some of Bermuda’s brightest young gymnasts will get a taste of international competition for the first time in two years when they travel to the United States this week.
The seven-strong squad made up of Ella Younie, Ella Newton, Ben Mello, Carina Bortoli, Kennedy Kowalski and Abby and Katie Adams will fly out to Florida alongside coach Anna Balada to compete in the Daytona Beach Open.
Balada is delighted at again being granted the opportunity to compete with her team in three days of competition from Friday to Sunday.
“It’s an invitational meet and as there are not too many clubs here in Bermuda, we need to travel away,” Balada said.
“We are not representing Bermuda but we are just going as a club for the gymnasts to get back to business after Covid. This is the first away meet since February 2020 so we'll see how it goes.
“The guys are all excited, especially some of the older ones. It might be their last away meet of the season because they are doing all their big exams this year, but they are all very excited and they have been training very hard to get prepared.”
After the two-year Covid timeout, this weekend’s meet will give the gymnasts their first chance in a while to gauge their abilities against some of the best in Florida, but Balada is confident her young stars will perform with credit.
“I think the gymnasts are well prepared and they will do well,” she said.
“They will be competing against a lot more people at their level. When we are here in Bermuda, it’s just them and it’s like a normal training session. Going away, they will see other gymnasts, other gyms and the different levels of competition. It will be interesting to see how they get on and I hope they will do well.”
This will be the first chance the gymnasts will have competed after the USA Gymnastics association tweajed the way points are awarded and Balada has sent videos to international judges to assess the merits of her young talent’s performances.
“The code of points in USA gymnastics changed this year, so we got some feedback from judges for our practice meet,” Balada said.
“We sent videos and have adjusted little things in the routines to make sure the kids can score better. It was good to get feedback to make sure we are doing the right things and the kids and coaches are confident with the routines that we are presenting.
This is an exciting time for gymnasts in Bermuda with international competition opening up and new recruits getting the chance to compete abroad for the first time.
“I think two of them will be competing away for the first time here,” Balada said. “The others are gymnasts who have been at Bermuda Gymnastics for a while. We will have a lot of new gymnasts travelling for our next big event, which is the Magical Classic from February 9 to 12.