JAGA president eyes more success in 2019

....Local gymnastics spurred on by third-place finish in Texas

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

After an exciting campaign for the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association (JAGA) last year, President Nicole Grant-Brown is beaming at the prospects for this season, as the senior male team got proceedings under way with a third-place finish at the Houston Invitational in Texas.

The five-member team of Caleb Faulkner, Nicholas Tai, Reiss Beckford, Stephen Lewis and new addition Michael Reid, kicked off what Grant-Brown believes will be an eventful year for the new and energised JAGA board.

Four of the five team members registered top performances on their respective apparatuses which propelled Jamaica into the top three of 13 teams at the early season competition on Friday. They placed behind winners Cyprus and United States, pocketing US$1,000 for their effort.

English-based Beckford finished tops on the floor with a score of 13.1, complemented by scores of 12.9 on the parallel bars, 13.1 on rings, 10.4 on the pommel horse, 11.3 on high bar and 13.4 on the vault.

Reid, who was born to Jamaican parents residing in Maryland, topped the pommel horse with a score of 14.6 followed by 13.3 on parallel bars while Tai, who also contested two apparatuses, scored 8.7 on rings and 10.8 on high bars.

Lewis, who topped vault with 14.4, also registered scores of 12.7 on parallel bars 13.5 on the rings, 12.7 on the pommel horse, 12.3 on high bars and 11.8 on floor.

Meanwhile, Faulkner was the top man on high bars with 12.5, with scores of 11.7, 13.2, 11.40, 12.5 and 11.7 on the parallel bars, vault, rings, pommel horse and floor, in that order.

Grant-Brown is optimistic that the team can build on this momentum going forward with more remarkable achievements on the international stage, as they gear up to make a historic appearance at the Pan American Games in Peru later this year.

“We are very happy to be able to compete consistently with the best in the world at this level and come out on top, even though Olympian Toni-Ann Williams unfortunately did not compete in 2018 due to injuries.

“I believe we have built the awareness for the sport in Jamaica and we are now focused on getting results which we are gradually seeing as our teams are definitely working and training hard to ensure that our results speaks to the great improvement and position of the sport of gymnastics in Jamaica,” Grant-Brown told the Jamaica Observer.

“Michael Reid looks very good on the pommel horse and is a potential medallist in the event; and Stephen is doing exceptionally well and giving top man Reiss a run. NCAA has really been a blessing and he has improved tremendously throughout the competitions, keeping him focused,” she added in reference to the athlete's performances.

According to Grant-Brown, Lewis and Beckford have been selected as the country's male representatives for the Pan Am Games, while English-based Danusia Francis will be joined by another representative to be named on the female side.

She revealed that those four athletes will also be on show for Jamaica at the World Championships, competing as a team for the first time.

However, Reid, Beckford, Faulkner and Tai will be in action later this week at the February 6-11 World Olympic Games Academy Classic in Texas, where they will be joined by the junior and senior female teams.

“Having all the teams competing at the same meet will also motivate our juniors, who have never seen our seniors compete at this level. This competition is also a major one for university scouts, who will have an eye on kids from an early age to join their university as they develop in the sport.

“This meet brings teams from all over the world to compete and we will not be left out of such an exposure for our athletes,” Grant-Brown affirmed.

She continued: “We have to ensure that our gymnasts are well prepared and fully exposed to more international competition, because the only way we can build our athletes is through competition at the highest level.

“That was the mantra for last year, and I believe we fulfilled our expectations and will continue to work with our athletes to make them better with the little resources we have.”

A 25-member contingent of young gymnasts from the JAGA's All Stars School team will also be travelling to St Vincent and the Grenadines to compete in their Coconut Classic competition.

In March, the Advance Optional Level 6-10, Elite Juniors, and a few members of the senior female team will be competing at the Gymnix Challenge and Gymnix International, while Jamaica will make an appearance at the Inaugural Junior World Championships in June.

From there the senior World Championships, which is a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics in Japan, will then take centre stage.

“We hope that more sponsors will come on board this year and partner with us, as we grow together to build gymnastics and a better Jamaica through sports. As you can see, we have a very full schedule and we started the year with our board retreat, outlining new ideas and adding to the existing five-year development plan, so again, we expect much for the 2019 season,” Grant-Brown ended.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon