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Tse Burgess steals show as Bermuda gymnasts star overseas

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Stellar showing: Tse Burgess, who competing at level 8 for the very first time in an overseas competition, claimed first place overall. She is pictured with Bermuda Gymnastics coach Anna Balada

Tse Burgess stole the show among a strong contingent of Bermudian gymnasts at the Magical Classic in Florida last weekend.

Burgess, who was competing at level 8 for the first time in an overseas competition, claimed first place overall.

After finishing second in the opening beam, one of the most daunting disciplines, Burgess went on to top the points standings on the vault as well giving a strong performance in her floor routine to take top honours.

Strong showing: Sean Lawrence and Ajana Patton who performed well at level 7 alongside coach Anna Balada

Coach Anna Balada could not hide her pride at Burgess’s performance, which was made even more impressive by the fact she suffers with overwhelming nerves in scenario, with Balada revealing they had worked extensively on her mental toughness prior to the event.

“I’m just so proud of Tse and so happy for her,” said Balada. “Her performance was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for sure. It was her first time competing at level 8 in an overseas event and it was incredible how well she did both with her performance and her attitude.

“Not only did she have to start on the beam, which is one of the scariest events to do, she also had to open the meet, which is really daunting. At meets she can be a little nervous and does not always control her routines as she does in training at the gym. Because of that we worked a lot on the mental side of competition before the event.

“She was still a bit nervous but she showed great mental toughness and gave an amazing performance on the vault. Other teams even came over to congratulate her, it was amazing to watch.

“That event set her up perfectly for the rest of the competition because it definitely gave her a massive confidence boost. She showed what she is capable of and what we knew she could do. That will be a huge boost for her going forward because she now knows what she can do in these competitions.”

Following on from the stellar performances of a seven-member team at the Daytona Beach Open this month, Burgess was one of 15 gymnasts from Bermuda action in Florida and Balada was impressed, particularly with eight young members of the team competing at Xcel Silver level in their very first overseas competition.

Encouraging performances: Aleia Mascarenhas, left, Isobel Stones, Eva Wright, Chantal Cheng, Nicole Burrows, Cassandra Mayers, Mckenna Redcliffe and Eira Wernbo, who competed in the Xcel Silver Division

Eva Wright gave a dazzling performance to clinch first place after finishing first on beam, second on bars and third on vault. Eira Wernbo also claimed a place on the podium after finishing second on beam, while Isobel Stones narrowly missed out when fifth in the vault competition.

There were also encouraging displays from McKenna Redcliffe, Aleia Mascarenhas, Chantal Cheng, Nicole Burrows and Cassandra Mayers.

“It was the first time competing overseas for all of these girls and they all did fantastically well,” added Balada. “It was a great experience for them all to be able to travel away and to part of an event like that.

“They also had the chance to see other clubs and other gymnasts from Canada and South America, which was a great experience for them.

“They did so well and they’ll only get better the more competitions they do.”

Out to impress: Sean Lawrence during her beam routine in the level 7 division

Elsewhere at level 7, Ajana Patton claimed a fourth-place finish on vault, while Sean Lawrence finished fifth on the floor.

Perfectly poised: Ajana Patton during her beam routine in the level 7 division

There was also strong showings from the remaining four gymnasts in the Xcel Gold Division.

Dazzling displays: Maddie Bigley, left, Lexi Daniel, Hayleigh Cherry and Helena Baillie who all impressed at Xcel Gold level

Chief among them was Hayleigh Cherry who finished fourth overall, having claimed a third-place finish on the floor and a fourth on the beam. Maddie Bigley finished second on the bars, Helena Baille finished fourth on floor and Lexi Daniel did likewise on the vault on her way to a sixth-place finish overall.

“All of the girls did really well against a very strong field of competition,” Balada said. “They all had brilliant attitudes throughout the events in what was a really tough session for them.”

Maddie Bigley, left, Lexi Daniel, Hayleigh Cherry and Helena Baillie who all impressed at Xcel Gold level

Members of that group will be aiming to build on their performances back home when Bermuda Gymnastics hosts the International Challenge on March 18, which will showcase the island’s best talent.

“For now we will be staying on island and focusing on the International Challenge next month,” added Balada, who is planning on taking a team to compete in Canada in May.

“The meet will be gymnasts from our gym and we are also hoping that Quality Gymnastics [another Bermuda-based club] join us at the competition as well.

“We would love the Bermuda community to come out and show their support and see the best of our local talent on show.

“In terms of our next overseas competition, we are planning on a trip to Canada in May, which will be a mixture of gymnasts, with some hopefully making a step up to a higher level. It will be another great opportunity to gain some more overseas experience, which will help them progress even more.”

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Published February 15, 2023 at 7:44 am (Updated February 15, 2023 at 2:21 pm)

Tse Burgess steals show as Bermuda gymnasts star overseas

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