Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Francis welcomes new gym

Published:Sunday | December 1, 2019 | 7:03 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Jamaica’s British-born gymnastics sensation Danusia Francis says she is very excited about the newly constructed National Gymnastics Association gym, adding that it will play a significant role in the development of the country’s aspiring gymnasts.

The new facility, which is located on Slipe Road, was officially opened yesterday by the association’s president Nicole Grant-Brown before the start of the two-day National Gymnastics trials for Senior and Junior athletes.

Francis, who is scheduled to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, next year, said the facility will certainly encourage a lot more participation in the sport, because the association now has a permanent home where athletes can train and develop their talents.

“It is amazing to see it (gym) because I have heard all about it and now to see it in person, it’s brilliant and it is just the start,” said Francis.

“Finally the kids have gotten a facility and it is not just them looking on to see people training abroad. Now they can come here and get their results,” she added. “Without a facility there is nothing that you can do and so now this is going to be the backbone of Jamaica’s gymnastics and so this is the start of a lot of progress.”

Looking forward to Tokyo

The 25-year-old Francis, who is based in London, England, underlines that she is looking forward to representing the country at next’s year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“It has always been my dream to compete in the Olympics and so to have qualified is my dream come true,” said Francis.

“I am going to be so excited. It is going to mean the world to me competing for Jamaica because I have always looked up to Jamaican athletes my whole life,” Francis shared.

In the meantime, Grant-Brown said she is excited with the opening of the facility.

“Gymnastics is so many children’s passion and without a facility of our own, it would be difficult and expensive for several of our kids to realise their dreams as they would have to go overseas for training far away from their parents and friends and, of course, their comfort of zone,” said Grant-Brown.

“We have made strides. Some of which includes qualifying for the Pan Am Games this year and making the finals, participating in the first Junior Worlds and qualifying for the 2020 Olympics, thanks to Danusia Francis,” she said.

“With all these achievements and milestone accomplished, having our own home is of great importance and will enable us to qualify for more Olympics and World Championships in the future,” Grant-Brown added.