Jamaica School of Gymnastics (JSG) won the top prize at the Yamilet Pena Classic held in the Dominican Republic from August 13-14.
The Jamaican gymnasts edged out the hosts while making the highest All-Around score of the competition. More than 300 gymnasts from 19 clubs from more than14 countries including Mexico, Aruba, Panama and the United States.
Two clubs from Jamaica participated in the tournament.
The Jamaica School of Gymnastics fielded 29 gymnasts who competed at Recreational, USAG Compulsory level 1 to 4 as well as USAG Advance Level 6-8. The other club, Westmoreland Gymnastics, was represented by five gymnasts who competed at Recreational, USAG level 1 and 2.
JSG’s Level Four team of Leah-Paige Phillips, Alayna Wilson, and Jade-Ann James topped their category while the Level Six team of Jurn’e Davis, Kamaria Smith, Janay Howel and Jesanique Scott finished third.
The Level Seven team of Leanna Blake, Arianna Richardson, Savanna Adams, Danique Meek and Sukhuri-Shay Smith finished first while the Level Eight team of Zuri-Matandara-Clarke, Mariah Gordon, Elyssa Alexander and Natashley Prehay was third.
Not to be outdone, Westmoreland Gymnastics’ gymnast Lowaynia Myers was third on Vault (9.85) and fifth in the All Around with a score of 37.7 at the Recreational Level.
Meanwhile, also at the Recreational Level, JSG’s Kalyssa Campbell was second on Floor with a 9.4 and eighth in the All Around with a score of 37.0; Lenessa Whyte was fourth on Vault with a 9.8 and 10th in the All Around with a score of 37.0
At Level 3, Elissa Ennis was fifth on vault with a score of 9.25 and sixth in the All Around with a score of 34.1.
At Level 4, Leah-Paige Phillips was first on Bars with a 9.6 and fourth in the All Around with a score of 35.65.
At Level 6, Kamaria Smith was second on Bars with a 9.25 and sixth in the All Around with a score of 35.7 and Jesanique Scott was third on Bars and seventh in the All Around with a score of 35.7.
At Level 7 in the 12-plus age group, Leanna Blake was first in the Bars with 9.6 and first in the All Around.
In the 9-11 age group, Danique Meek was first on Floor (9.1) and first on Beam (8.4). She was also top of the All Around with a score of 35.9.
And at Level 8, Zuri Matandara- Clarke was first on Beam and Bars with a 9.1 and 9.35, respectively, and second in the All Around with a score of 35.35.
President of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association, Nicole Grant, believe the performances of the gymnasts demonstrate the continued growth of the sport at the local level.
“Jamaica School of Gymnastics has transitioned since 2019 when we first built a state-of-the-art gymnasium which serves the gymnastics community well,” Grant said.
“The club has grown and has used much of the time during the Covid-19 pandemic to train our coaches to be more vigilant when it comes to technique and the gymnasts’ physical and mental preparation.
“As coach of the Level 7s and 8s along with coaches Nadeen Whyte (Recreational, 4 and 6) and Kerieon Grant (1-3) at the JSG club, we are elated that all the girls went out and did the best they could, knowing that they were competing internationally for the first time in two years as a club.
“They were up against more seasoned competitors and this made them very nervous but they went out and gave their best and for that, we are super proud of them.”
Grant said club managers Nadeen Whyte and Kerieon Grant have put in place a new and technical program for the girls and it showed in their execution. They also put in a lot of work to make this tour a success, she said.
“We must thank the parents, who helped to fund this competition as without their input it would not have been possible,” Grant said. “Shantel Jackson-Blake and Christina Francis, who manages the team, have done a wonderful job and we can’t thank them enough.
“We are also grateful to parents who chip in and help financially fund others and ensure that they do whatever they can to assist whether they are on the tour or at home.”
She also expressed pride at the performance of the gymnasts from Westmoreland Gymnastics.
“Westmoreland Gymnastics is our sister club and we would like to really congratulate Coach Natanja Morris for the hard work put into the preparation of the 5 girls who have done very well,” the JGA president said.
The team is expected to arrive in Jamaica late Monday afternoon.
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