Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Jamaican gymnasts looking to leave mark at IGA tourney

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:09 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Nicole Grant
Nicole Grant

An 11-member team will leave today to participate at the COPA International Gymnastics Academy (IGA) 2023 tournament, set to run from October 5-8 in Panama.

President of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association, Nicole Grant, expects to have a good tournament as, based on the team’s last training session, the camaraderie within the team is high.

“We had a training session on Saturday with the entire team and the mood was very good, as the team was in high spirits. They were very happy to know that they got to know each other before they left, since they were coming from various schools.

The team, which is made up of primary and preparatory school athletes, includes Selah Price, Roshanique Ricketts, Marisol Hogarth, Leah Cowan, Lashay Chutcan, Joelle Williams, Harmony Burton, Harmonie-Jade Johnson, Emma-Marie Donaldson, Dojanae Garwood and Adriannah Bailey.

Grant added that despite the high level of talent within the Jamaican team, she’s not focusing too much on the medal prospects but is grateful that the athletes are getting the opportunity to participate at another high-calibre event.

“As this stage, we don’t focus on winning, we focus on getting the exposure and keeping them motivated, so that they can look forward to something. That will help them to train hard and be better gymnasts, and have a long life in the sport. I want to also highlight the gratefulness we have for the parents, who have really come together to make this trip a reality for our youngsters,” she added.

Grant also pointed out that Jamaica has a number of young, exciting gymnasts ready to take the world by storm. She added that the list of participants could have been significantly higher, but due to financial reasons the team had to be minimised.

“From more than 300 competitors at the regional school level, we were able to choose about 30; then, of that 30, 11 are able to go, because funding is a major issue. We have some really raw talent that we really need to harness and push, but funding is really becoming a major setback. However, we try not to look at the downside of things and try to be optimistic,” Grant said.