Caymanian gymnast Morgan Lloyd posted a personal best and national record all-around score of 39.334 at the Junior Pan American Championships in Aracaju, Brazil, last month.
The competition hosted 40 female gymnasts from 18 Pan American nations. Brazil took gold and silver all-around, with Canada taking the bronze. Lloyd placed 31st on vault, beam and bars and 34th in the overall standings, ahead of gymnasts from Bermuda, Bolivia, Guatemala and Argentina.
Lloyd said, “Competing at the Junior Pan American Championships was an amazing experience. Seeing such high-level athletes was very inspiring, and the support of the Brazilian organizers and volunteers was truly overwhelming. I could hear them cheer me on during my floor routine. I was so fortunate to represent the Cayman Islands in a sport I love. It was such an honor.”
Coach Adriana Forde was extremely pleased with Lloyd’s performance.
“Morgan gained a tremendous experience, learning from countries like Brazil and Canada who have so much experience at this level, and also from competing on par with gymnasts from other countries who are also just breaking into the international levels,” Forde said.
The Cayman Islands was recognized by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique in 2013, opening the door for gymnasts on island to compete at this level. The Junior Pan American Championships represented the first major international competition attended by a Caymanian gymnast. This competition gave Lloyd the opportunity to set a benchmark for the Cayman team.
Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association President Toni Pinkerton said, “There is a strong future for this sport in the Cayman Islands. We have some obstacles to overcome, and we do rely on technical support from overseas, but these young gymnasts are so determined and motivated to put the Cayman Islands on the map in the world of gymnastics.
“We are so excited to be in a position to compete at this level of competition and we are so proud of Morgan, who rose to the challenge, posting personal best scores under the pressure of this level of competition.”
Lloyd trains at Motions Unlimited in Cayman with teammate Raegan Rutty, who will be eligible for junior events next year. Senior gymnast Bethany Dikau trains with Forde in St. Catherine’s, Canada, and Junior Samantha Peene trains with Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics near Tampa, Florida. The team is coached locally by Kelley Paz and gets technical guidance from coach and judge Pam Collet, based in Toronto, Canada.