Locals stretch for JA challenge

Local gymnasts are gearing up for a meet in Jamaica this summer.

Motions Unlimited Gymnastics Studio are sending boys and girls team to the 15th Gym Star Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica this June. The competition is expected to take place at the University of Technology Gymnasium.

Taking place over two days, the meet caters to participants at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Participants will be judged to see if they incorporate the basic rules and perform with consistency. Among the events slated to be on display are the uneven bars, balance beam, vault, high bar and parallel bars, still rings and pommel horse.

Usually attracting over 170 participants and 30 regional gymnasts, the meet is designed to grow the sport’s appeal in Jamaica. The competition, which is sanctioned by the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association, is typically staged by the Ishimoto’s School of Gymnastics in St. Andrew. Founded by Japanese national Yasunori Ishimoto, the school is a fully equipped gymnastics centre that has featured Japanese instructors like Shin Nishida.

The Cayman teams are currently training at the Motions gym on Sparky Drive in George Town. Last Wednesday, the squads did an impromptu showcase for members of the public. Coaches Sorin Rad and Heather Waisanen worked with the teams on all the major areas of competition. Coach Rad paid special attention to the fitness of the boys side, having them do weight-resistance exercises. Wednesday’s showcase also featured FloMotion, Cayman’s own Parkour group.

News of the Jamaica meet comes after Motions Unlimited recently sent boys and girls gymnastics teams to the Gasparilla Classic in Tampa and the Tim Rand Invitational in Fort Lauderdale. The squads would finish in the top five in their age group.

Special mention goes to Berkley Ponce and Roger Cockhill. Both placed first place in the all-around competition at their very first gymnastics competition.