Alana Walker's success to boost sport, says gymnastics bossThursday, June 24, 2021
Alana Walker created history last week when she became the first athlete to win a medal at a major gymnastics competition for Jamaica.
Participating in the women's artistic gymnastic All-around competition (bar, beam, floor and vault), at the junior Pan American gymnastics championships in Mexico last week, Walker finished third in her first time representing the island.
A delighted Jamaica Gymnastics Association President, Nicole Grant-Brown believes that Walker's success could not have come at a better time.
“Her placement at this event speaks volumes to her ability and talent and we are super, super excited that she has chosen to represent Jamaica at this time when we have launched our Junior Olympic programme.
“She is a part of that programme and we look forward to her development and her transition into the senior category, as next year, she will become a senior and the road to 2024 Olympics would have started for her.”
Her third-place finish means that Walker has qualified for the Junior Pan American Games in Colombia, later this year.
Grant-Brown expects the rest of Jamaica to realise that gymnastics is serious business on the island now.
“The result will definitely send a message that we are serious about gymnastics and that we really, really need the requisite equipment to further develop our local talent,” she said.
“Every appearance at any international competition of this nature is always a boost for the sport, that is what we basically strive to be a part of and that is why we are working on our programme, to ensure that we can participate and compete effectively as a country at these competitions, as young as our sport is in locally.
“This major win for us is very important to the growth and development of our sport locally, because it shows that we have the ability and capability of doing well in the sport of gymnastics,” Grant-Brown insisted.
The JGA president expects the younger athletes to be boosted by the success of Walker as they prepare for a major competition later this year.
“This is also a major boost for our young gymnasts who are now preparing for a youth competition in Colombia later this year, the Pan American age -group Hopes tournament from age eight to 14. Alana will be competing in the elite category.
The United States-based Walker, who had never competed outside of club competitions before, was honoured to represent Jamaica and thanked her support team for helping her to achieve success at her maiden attempt.
“I feel honoured to get the chance to compete for Jamaica. I have only competed against other clubs, it was an amazing experience to compete against other countries. Also, the love and support I've had from friends, family and Team Jamaica is awesome.
“It was very exciting to find out that I was the first to give Jamaica a medal in such a high-level event. I went into the meet just to do my best and qualify to the next meet in Cali, Colombia. Once I found out, it was a very nice surprise.”
Grant-Brown started a goFundme campaign recently in order to purchase much-needed landing equipment and repeated the call for assistance in securing the equipment required for the gymnasts to perform at higher standards and degrees of difficulty.
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