An all-Prince Rupert gymnast team has qualified to represent the Northwest at a Langley-based tournament organized in lieu of the cancelled BC Winter Games.
Though the official games have been cancelled, Gymnastics BC has created a platform for athletes who qualified for the Christy Fraser Memorial Invitational, held from Feb. 18 to 20.
Kiri Orton, Cambrie Bosco and Emma Touchet all qualified for the event during a December tryout tournament in Terrace where they beat out gymnasts from Smithers, Erin Hipkiss, Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association head coach, said.
The event will take place as a “tournament within a tournament” along with the regularly scheduled contest in Langley. It is expected to host more than 1,000 athletes. The competition will also be a hybrid including video submissions of routines. It will be rated by the same panel of judges who were participating in the BC Winter Games.
“Because we’ve been so far down the road in selecting teams from various zones across the province, we felt it’s important to recognize those young athletes who qualified,” Nigel Loring, Gymnastics BC CEO, told The Northern View.
To have qualified for the BC Winter Games, athletes were required to be at least level seven, out of 10, and be between the ages of 10 and 15.
This will be the first time in two years the Prince Rupert gymnasts will have competed outside the Northwest, Hipkiss said.
“I’m really excited,” Orton said. This year was the first time the 12-year-old has qualified for the high-level tournament.
Touchet is also a first-time qualifier for the winter games. The 13-year-old said she is looking forward to putting her skills to the test against other talented gymnasts and is aiming to bring home a gold medal.
Though feeling nervous and excited to compete at the tournament, Bosco, 11, is shooting for a top 10 finish at the tournament and is enthusiastic to compete in her favourite events, which are the floor and in the bar.
“We’re very fortunate we have a sports safety officer who works with our host competitions to review all the provincial health orders and ensure that the competitions are planned to be consistent with those health directives,” Loring said.
Vaccine screening will be in effect, spectator seating limited and masks are required to be worn, except for athletes when they are competing in events.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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