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Gymnasts flip into action next Sunday
Susan Gordon, Staff Reporter
JAMAICA'S POTENTIAL world stars will display their medal winning flips and swings at the ninth Gym Star competition next Sunday.
The competition will take place at the University of Technology (UTech) and feature 15 outstanding gymnasts.
The young and impressive Megan Simmonds, who has her sights set on the 2012 Olympics, will be among the athletes to watch at the all-day event.
The Ishimoto Gymnastic School, which was started 10 years ago, is hosting the competition with the intention of growing the sport in Jamaica 'by leaps and bounds'.
The eight adults and seven youngsters who will be participating all received training at the Japanese-run school in Drumblair, St. Andrew. The school boosts a membership of 60 students
"We are trying to take them to the Olympic team," said Yasunori Ishimoto, founder of the school. He told Sunday Sports that in former international competitions such as the Gasperilla Classics held last year in Tampa, Florida, Simmonds claimed third in the level seven competition.
Achieving Olympics standards will take discipline in training and adequate facilities, noted the trainer. However, he said the boys, in particular, were getting serious and focused about it.
GIRLS AT HIGHER LEVEL
Gymnastics range from levels one to 10 and the Elite. Ishimoto said the girls on the competitive team were at a higher level than the boys because of age.
Simmonds is at level eight, while Shannay Gentles, another promising gymnast is at the Elite level and could qualify for the 2008 Olympics. Competitors at the Olympics normally enter at the Elite level.
The trainer desires to take his team to the World Junior Champion-ship in Japan next year.
"Gymnastics is a recognised sport and we need a facility that will allow more people to participate," he said.
A gymnastic competition is based on levels and rules. Each level has eight fundamental tests consisting of the four Bs and four As of basic gymnastic rules.
Judges will look at the gymnast's routine at any level to see if it incorporates the basic rules done with consistency. They also look out for the difficulty of the task when scoring as a single fall could ruin a team's chance of winning.
The highest score which can be attained between levels 1 to 10 is a perfect score of 10.0. Nadia Comaneci was the first Olympian gymnast to achieve this in 1976. For the Elite level the best score is 16.0.
The show at UTech should be a mixture of competition and fun with Japanese volunteer from the Japan International Corporation Agency, Shin Nishida, adding international flavour to the adult section of the show.