Some of the region’s most promising young gymnasts were on show last weekend at the Concorde Experience in the second annual Barbados Gymnastics Invitational meet.
The one-day event attracted 76 participants from clubs in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago and proved to be tremendous exposure for the young athletes between the ages of eight and eighteen.
The venue, an aircraft museum for the retired supersonic Concorde jet at Searles, Christ Church, was transformed into a major competition arena as athletes showcased their skills in artistic gymnastics and entertained an appreciative audience with varied efforts on the vault, the floor, balance-beams and bars.
The balance, strength and impressive landings of the young gymnasts were judged by visiting experts, generally in short routines, and admired and applauded throughout the day.
Several athletes produced impressive performances, in various levels of competition, and among them were gold medal winners Tyshana Beckles (Olympia of Trinidad and Tobago), Gabrielle Brome (Barbados), Shakayla Estwick (Bar), Mollie Loveridge (Bar), Natalia Goodman (Bar), Malik Goodman (Bar), Teriq Linton (Bar) and Brandon Gill (Bar).
Beckles, Estwick and Goodman were also among those recognised as all-round winners, as they won at least two of the four events contested and scored highly in the others.
In the boys Level 6 category, Teriq Linton of the Foundation School and Brandon Gill, of the St. Michael School, showcased keen rivalry on the bars and pummel horse before Linton emerged the all-around winner.
Medals, trophies and ribbons awarded during the invitational event were sponsored by United Insurance and the company’s marketing manager Sharron Alleyne-Elcock praised the organisers for successfully staging another meet.
“It was a fantastic event and we were happy to be able to support the Gymnastics Association and our young athletes who have been showing great improvement over the years,” she said.
Head coach of the Barbados team, Allison Jackson, said there was an improvement in the number of boys competing and both boys and girls performed well given the fact that most of them moved into higher levels of competition, which would have made the meet more challenging.
Around 40 Trinidadians participated in the meet and president of the Barbados Amateur Gymnastics Association , Jukka Thero described the event as a success which also helped to provide greater exposure for Barbadian gymnasts.