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Gymnastics president welcomes new gym

Published:Saturday | November 30, 2019 | 12:10 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

President of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association Nicole Grant-Brown says that the newly constructed National Gymnastic Training Centre will help to further develop the sport in Jamaica.

The new facility on Slipe Road will be opened in an official ceremony today before the start of the National Gymnastic Trials for Seniors and Juniors, which will take place at the facility today and tomorrow. The two-day competition will feature 129 athletes from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, the United States, and Great Britain.

Grant-Brown says that the new gym will be beneficial for the youngsters, whose development will be aided by proper equipment and facilities to train.

“We have been building that gym for two and a half years, so we are really happy that it’s now completed,” Grant-Brown told The Gleaner. “The completion of the gym is very symbolic for us because now, we are more confident that our kids will get the proper facility to work in that is safe. So we are very happy.”

According to Grant-Brown, equipment for the new facility was supplied by the Chinese government through a bilateral agreement with the Ministry of Sport, and she is grateful for the efforts that have been made towards the completion of the facility.

Previously, Jamaican representatives for international tournaments have been selected by competing in tournaments overseas in the various events, but according to Grant-Brown, the new facility will present the opportunity to host national trials in which all athletes must compete for selection. She adds that hosting the trials would also serve to inspire the young talent that would be on display.

“Now that we have our own facility, they have to come here for those trials. This is the first time that we are having the senior national trials in Jamaica. Usually, we have that in other competitions overseas,” she said. “So it is definitely a big thing for us because now we can (have the competition) from year to year.

“The children can expect to see the gymnasts at the highest level competing, which will be motivating for them. That is the goal – to motivate our youngsters – because gymnastics is a very hard sport.””

Danusia Francis, Jamaica’s British-born gymnast, will be in the island for the championships as a special guest. She will be performing her routine for the young competitors as well as participating in the opening of the facility. Francis has had a stellar year – from participating in Jamaica’s first final at this year’s Pan American Games in Peru to her qualification for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

The senior trials will form the selection process for Olympic qualifying events next year, including the Pan American Cup in May, and the junior trials will help to select teams to the Junior Pan Am Cup next year, a qualifier for the Pan American Championships in 2021.