Thu | Sep 29, 2016

Young gymnasts hunting success

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer

Jamaica has excelled in many sporting disciplines over the years and now looks set to do so in gymnastics, especially with the programme being focused on the youths. Two of Jamaica's youngest and brightest prospects are the 10-year-olds Rachel Barham and Shania Edgar.

Barham has been steadily improving in the sport over the past two years and has over this period won on all the apparatuses she has competed on. She had a love-at-first-sight experience with gymnastics and has not looked back since.

"We were going to the gym to do karate and I saw these people doing some back flips and I said 'cool I would love to do that', and then my mom said 'are you sure you want to do that, because we came here for another thing', and I said 'yes I want to do the gymnastics'," Barham said. "It has been a great experience; I love it. I get to learn new things and I can actually go overseas and meet new people. I get to travel all over the world," she added.

The two girls, along with other gymnasts, will in August travel to Miami where they will engage in a tournament there.

Barham, who is a fifth-grade student at the Stella Maris Preparatory School, would love to one day represent Jamaica at the Olympics level. She also participates in other sporting activities beside gymnastics.

"I love swimming but I love gymnastics more. Ballet is the best because it helps with the gymnastics to refine my floor exercise," Barham said.

Natural ability

Edgar showed natural ability from an early age and was then introduced to the sport by her mother. She was enrolled in Ishimoto's Gym, the one to which Barham is also attached.

"I got started in gymnastics when I was about seven years old. I used to love to flick (flip) so my mommy let me start gymnastics," Edgar said.

The Hope Valley Experimental student has mixed feelings about the sport but loves winning.

"It is difficult sometimes and fun sometimes. I like the competition part, I always want to come first and, therefore, when I go into competitions I am a bit scared I might not come first."

Her family has been very supportive of her and attends most of her training and all of her competitions. She, too, harbours dreams of one day representing Jamaica at Olympics.