JGA’s bid to qualify for three consecutive Olympics suffers massive blow
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association (JGA), Nicole Grant, says that both management and national representatives are bitterly disappointed after failing to qualify for either the World Championships or Pan American Games at the recently concluded Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia.
Grant says the failure to advance to either of those elite championships has severely dented the country’s chances of qualifying for a third successive Olympic Games. According to the JGA president, the island will now have to seek to qualify for the Olympics through four different World Cup tournaments, but this will require hefty financing.
“It’s a very expensive venture to go around the world doing World Cups, so it’s unlikely that we will get to the Olympics for this year. We were hoping to have three consecutive appearances, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will happen for us,” Grant stated. She added that it may be time for them to go back to the drawing board, think a little, and get a better understanding of all the athletes and how to really motivate them.
Despite the obvious disappointment of not securing qualification to the two major upcoming events (World Championships and Pan American Games) Grant stated that the performance of the male gymnasts was worth noting. The Jamaicans finished 14th overall, and in the Pommel Horse category, Elel Wahrmann-Baker managed to secure a fourth-place finish. This, Grant believes, was the high mark of the championships for the group.
“Everybody on the team is disappointed with the fact that they didn’t qualify for both events (World Championships or Pan American Games). However, we are very pleased with the performances of the male gymnast. For a long time we haven’t had a team competing in a male competition. It was refreshing to see the Jamaican team, and even though we finished 14th overall, it was a pleasure to see that we had enough men to perform as a team. Individually, Wahrmann-Baker finished fourth in the Pummell Horse competition, and that’s a major achievement,” Grant added.
For the females, Tyesha Mattis finished 32nd overall in the individual all-around final, Kiara Richmon 36th, and Mya Absolam 41st. Grant believes that nerves, which resulted in the girls failing to settle as quickly as possible, was the main reason for their below-par performances.
“We’re also pleased that the girls came and pushed through, but they could have done better. They weren’t settled enough, and that cost them. It would be a learning curve for them to understand that for a championship of this nature, it’s important that they get settled as quickly as possible and focus, but there was a lot of nerves.” she said.