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Local gymnastics talent meets opportunity

Freeport-based athletes make first appearance at BSG Invitational
  • Soraya Halkitis, Level 1, won the title for all-around champion, ages 4-5.

  • Here are the award winners from Session 2-Level 2 of the BGPBC-Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) Invitational. At left in the white shirt is Barbara Thompson, Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas’ President, next to her in the blue shirts are Nassau ’Nastics coaches, in the center are BSG coaches Alex Mayet, (head coach seated at the top on the podium) and coach Kachara Marshall (standing). Also pictured is Alexis Mayet (holding two trophies), Level 2 All-Around Champion. At the far right is Suzanne Carmona, Level 10 Certified Judge; and Georgia Taylor, head coach, Georgia's School of Dance in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

  • Pictured is the visiting gymnastics club from the nation’s second city, Georgia's School of Dance from Freeport, Grand Bahama. The head coach there is Georgia Taylor.

  • Pictured is the gymnasts team from Nassau ‘Nastics.

  • Pictured are gymnasts from the Bahamas Star Gymnastics Squad warming up for Session 3 of the BGPBC-Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) Invitational.

  • Pictured are gymnasts with their awards from Session 1-Level 1 of the BGPBC-Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) Invitational. At left are BSG coaches Idania Garcia-Stroud and Monique de Swanton. At far right is Level 10 USA Certified Judge Suzanne Carmona. Seated in the center is Georgia Taylor, the coach of Georgia's School of Dance, a club in Freeport, Grand Bahama. PHOTOS: BSG

  • Seated at the top on the podium is Sanaa Saunders, Level 1 All- Around Champion.

Published: Apr 24, 2012

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One of the goals of the organizers of the BGPBC-Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) Invitational, hosted on Saturday, April 14, was to provide a platform for local gymnasts to gain exposure to the rigors of the competitive environment. Clubs from Freeport and New Providence converged on the BSG facility to face off for the first time in a local meet to compete in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics events. The official for the event was Suzanne Carmona, a level 10 USA gymnastics certified judge based in Illinois, USA.

New Providence based clubs, Nassau ’Nastics and Bahamas Star Gymnastics, have been on the radar of the local sports community for several years now. Now, the Freeport based Georgia’s School of Dance made its debut showing. The three clubs were represented by nearly 40 athletes who competed to the delight of their community base of supporters cheering from the sidelines.

Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas President Barbara Thompson, who was on hand to present awards, issued a statement after the event:

“The Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas wishes to commend the Bahamas Star Gymnastics and BGPBC for their successful clinic and competition this past weekend. It was a very important first in the sport of gymnastics here. This competition brought in Bahamian gymnasts from outside of New Providence to test their skills against some of Nassau’s finest. Fourteen gymnasts from the Georgia’s School of Dance, situated in Freeport, competed against the local teams – Nassau ’Nastics and Bahamas Star. It was a spectacular sight indeed. Everyone was a winner!

“The gymnastics federation has been striving to spread this sport beyond the shores of New Providence. In September of 2011, a clinic was held with the assistance of the Olympic Solidarity movement. Coaches from Eleuthera and Grand Bahama joined those from New Providence to be brought up to speed on the latest in Level 1 artistic gymnastics training. Hopefully, this is an indication of more to come. Our kids have the talent – we need only to give them the opportunity.”

The invitational event showcased the largest number of local novice gymnasts to date. Freeport athletes competed on the floor exercise only, as they have no access to the three remaining devices required for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Their shimmering lime-green leotard clad squad all scored above 8.5 on the floor exercise to record the highest scores for a novice team in The Bahamas. The two more experienced teams from New Providence battled it out on the other events – vault, balance beam and uneven bars.

Highest scorers in the all-around were Level 1’s Sanaa Saunders, BSG; Level 2’s Alexis Mayet, BSG; Level 3’s Zoe Deveaux, Nassau ’Nastics; Level 4’s Sydney Wells, BSG; and Level 6’s Athalia Swann, BSG. Levels 5, 7 and 8 defaulted to single competitors, namely Caitlin Cash, and Toni and Toneka Johnson respectively. Level 2 was especially competitive as Alexis Mayet edged out fellow BSG teammate, Savannah Lightfoot by .05 to capture the top award. Mayet’s score of 37.75 was also the highest all-around score for the entire meet.

Honorable mention is deserved for Freeport athletes who cracked the 9.0 (of 10) barrier which alludes many novice competitors, namely Level 1’s Lauryn Hanna (9.55) and Danae Rollon (9.05) Level 2’s Damia Williams (9.40), Jaiden Outten (9.15), Level 3’s Gerniqua Smith (9.05) and Lynisha Russell (9.1), and Level 4’s Mischa Moxey (9.0).

Host club Bahamas Star Gymnastics swept the team awards for having the two highest scores in their respective levels.

All-in-all, the meet directors and participating clubs were extraordinarily pleased with the opportunity which the local talent was able to access. U.S. based gymnasts can access as many as four meets per month by simply driving to a different city each weekend, for instance. The frequency of exposure to competitive meets is part of the reason for the phenomenal success that American athletes are achieving on the international level. Bahamas Star Gymnastics and Bahamas Gymnastics Parent Booster Club (BGPBC) aim to increase the opportunities for competitive meets, clinics and other events to enhance our local gymnasts’ shots at success.

Many participating gymnasts discovered how delightful a moment of success feels as they mounted the awards podium to “present” themselves after investing grueling hours of preparation for the first inter-island and inter-club competition. If the fruit of success is “juicy sweet” then the after taste that many left the event with is “next time I’m determined to win it all”. Complacency is the cancer of any sport and competition is its cure.

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