4 Jamaicans aim for US gymnastics team trophy
FOUR Jamaican male gymnasts were slated to begin competition among 2,000 participants at the SandDollar/Whitlow Invitational at the ESPN Centre in Orlando, Florida, yesterday, one of the USA's five biggest gymnastics competitions.
Three senior gymnasts from Nishida's Gymnastics and Fitness Centre will be hoping to once again take home the male team trophy, as they did for Level 8 in 2011 and Level 9 in 2012.
In 2013 the coach chose to showcase them at Gasparilla Classics in Tampa, one of the other five major competitions, where again they walked away with the male team trophy, this time at Level 10.
Gymnast and assistant coach Nicolas Tai (Nishida's Centre), and gymnasts and schoolboys, Jamin Melbourne-Levy (Quality Academics) and Shacoy Bennett (Jamaica College) will miss their fellow gymnast, schoolboy Daniel Williams, who was the top male gymnast at Whitlow in 2011, but who has been held back by injury this year.
This is 'par for the course' for these gymnasts, who work up to 20 hours a week in order to be ready to compete at elite level in the 2015 World Championships, the qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics.
Following eagerly in their footsteps is Atario Brown (Sts Peter and Paul), who will be competing at Level 6, hoping to walk away with medals in the six events all male gymnasts have to master — floor, pommel horse, high bar, rings, parallel bars, and vault.
The team departed the island on Wednesday ahead of yesterday's start of competition.