Local gymnastics is on the cusp of featuring at next year’s Pan American Games.
The Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association has arranged for Morgan Lloyd to compete in a qualifier for the 2015 competition in Toronto, Canada. The association is slated to stage an event the week of Nov. 24 at Motions Unlimited gymnastics studio. Association president Toni Pinkerton says Lloyd, 15, should easily meet the qualifying standard.
“The gymnastics association sets the qualification standards for each international event,” Pinkerton said. “For the PanAm Games, it’s a 38.00 (score) so if Morgan gets a 38 (score) by April 30, she can take that qualifying spot that was earned by Bethany (Dikau) for Cayman. Morgan scored higher than that in 2014, so we anticipate her achieving the score. The first qualifier will be the last week in November.” Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique judge and coach Pam Collett, who works with Cayman’s gymnasts remotely from Canada, will be on island that week to judge routines for both Island Games and PanAm Games.
Lloyd has shown great form this year. At the Gymnix International Invitational in Montreal in March, she had a 38.616 all-around score – beating her previous best of 35.20. Later that month, she set a new national record with an all-around score of 39.344 at the Junior Pan American Championships in Aracaju, Brazil. In August, she competed at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, where she finished 37th out of 40 competitors.
Lloyd hopes to emulate Dikau, who competed at the 2014 Senior Pan American Gymnastics Championships in August. The meet – held in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – was a qualifier for the 2015 PanAm Games scheduled for next July. Dikau, 17, earned a spot for Cayman in the artistic gymnastics event. The former Cayman Prep and Grace Christian Academy student said on social media that it was a good experience.
“This international meet was amazing and I got to see even more high calibre gymnasts,” Dikau said. “My training went well and in my group we had Guatemala, Bolivia and Bahamas. All the gymnasts I met were all very nice – even when sometimes I couldn’t understand them because of the language difference. On competition day, I got another one of my personal bests – even with some mistakes. All in all, it was amazing and I can’t wait for what other amazing experiences the future holds for me.”
Dikau moved to Canada a few years ago and trains with coach Adriana Forde at Gymnastics Energy in St. Catharines, Ontario. The duo represented Cayman in Glasgow, Scotland at the XX Commonwealth Games, with Dikau being the first Caymanian gymnast to ever compete at the Commonwealth Games. In Scotland, she finished 37th out of 40 athletes in the artistic gymnastics event with an all-around score of 38.898.
International success for Dikau – a grade 12 student at Niagara Christian Schools in Canada – has come quickly. While she previously competed for Motions Unlimited in the Under-15 ranks, she started representing Cayman on an individual basis only last year. She made history at the 2013 Island Games in Bermuda, where her silver medal in the vault was the first ever medal for Cayman gymnastics at that meet.
Pinkerton says Dikau will no longer compete for the country she was born in, since Canadian college life is taking priority.
“Bethany has gone on to university this year and has retired at the international level,” Pinkerton said. “She’s training about 10 hours a week and just competing locally. We received notice in September of the qualification. The championships that were held in Toronto in August were the qualifiers for the 2015 PanAm Games. Bethany earned a qualifying spot for Cayman at that event. As she has retired, Morgan is the only female gymnast old enough to qualify for Pan Am Games – athletes have to turn 16 in the year of the competition to compete in senior events.”