Fri | Jun 2, 2023

Gymnasts eye strong showing at Pan Am Champs

Published:Friday | May 26, 2023 | 12:35 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Tyesha Mattis
Tyesha Mattis

A seven-member Jamaican gymnastics team comprised of Caleb Faulk, Michael Reid, Matthew McClymont, Elel Wahrmann-Baker, Tyesha Mattis, Mya Absolam and Kiara Richmon will bow into action today at the three-day Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia.

Nicole Grant, president of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association, revealed that she expects a good showing from the group as the mood within the camp is upbeat and based on what took place at yesterday’s dress rehearsal for the championships the team is in good spirit.

“They are bonding together, yesterday they had podium training where they showed the judges what they are preparing to do. They went through their full routines where the judges looked at them and if they had any questions to ask then the judges would have given them advice,” she stated.

President Grant reiterated that the importance of the current championships in Medellin, Colombia, which is of high value to the team as it is being used as a qualifier for both the World Championships which will be hosted in Antwerp, Belgium, in September and the Pan American Games set for Santiago, Chile, in October. She added that the ultimate goal of the team will be to have at least one representative at the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be a significant feat as Jamaica would then be represented at three consecutive games.

“This championship is very important as it is a qualifier for the Pan American Games, but more importantly for the upcoming World Championships. We hope that they will do the best that they can as we would love to have a third consecutive Olympian qualifying from this year’s World Championships. Some members of the team might not have another shot at that so it’s going to be a very important competition for them. So they’re taking it very seriously,” Grant stated.

Despite the abundance of youth within the small team, especially on the female side, President Grant stated that they’ve participated at numerous championships before so she isn’t expecting any nervous performances from the unit. She believes that with every championship, the team should take much-needed experience and exposure.

“Every competition that they participate in just adds to their experience and exposure. They’ve done a number of competitions over the years so hopefully that would have prepared them for this. Though they’re young they have been in the business for a long time, so there will not be a fear factor but rather they’ll be focused on doing a clean routine and getting the most points out of that,” she added.