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Archive: December 2002

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The city that hosted the inaugural Commonwealth Games is once again looking to host the Games. Hamilton, Ontario received the nod over Halifax as the Canadian City that will bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Also vying for these games is New Delhi, India and possibly Singapore. Nigeria previously expressed interest as a contender.

Canada has hosted to the Commonwealth Games four times: Hamilton 1930; Vancouver 1954; Edmonton 1978; and Victoria 1994. The host city for the 2010 Games is expected to be announced in November 2003.


Heather Purnell, 1st AA

Ottawa's Heather Purnell was the top athlete in the senior all-around at the women's Elite Canada competition today. Purnell, 16, earned the top marks of the day on vault and beam to take first place over Omega's Gael Mackie. Purnell, who earlier this year won medals at the Pacific Alliance Championships and Commonwealth Games, scored 35.825 points over four events to take the competition by a comfortable 0.800 margin. Mackie, 14, placed among the top two on three of the four events, but problems on balance beam (7.950 from a 9.600 SV) kept her from the top of the podium.

Gymnastics Mississauga's Melanie Tham rode a consistent four-event effort to take third all-around. For Tham, the result was sweet redemption after being disqualified from last year's competition for being over the maximum age for a junior competitor. Stampede City's Kylie Stone, a double bronze medalist from the Commonwealth Games, was strong on vault and floor exercise, but suffered errors on bars and beam to finish fourth. The Ottawa Gymnastics Club scored a second top result with Melanie Banville's fifth place finish.

British Columbia's Flicka Gymnastics Club was the team of the day, with four athletes in the top ten. Tracey Rai, Breanne King, Natasha Gowda, and Julie Medeiros finished sixth, seventh, ninth, and tenth overall. Former World Championship team member Jennifer Simbhudas scored a 33.800 total for eighth place. Seneca's Lydia Williams had a tough day of competition (6.900 on beam), but finished with the day's best bars score (9.075) for 11th overall.

Competition for the seniors continues Sunday with event finals competition. Full results are available here and a report here.


Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs
2nd AA

Cambridge's Aisha Gerber made a quantum leap from the top of Canada's novice to junior ranks by taking first place on day one of the junior competition at the women's Elite Canada, being held this weekend in Gatineau, Quebec. Gerber, who is born in 1990 and will not be eligible for senior international competition until 2006, edged Seneca's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs in a tightly contested duel. The two athletes were closely matched over three events, but Gerber picked up enough ground on floor exercise, where she scored 9.500 (10.1 start value under modified rules) to Hopfner-Hibbs' 8.950 (9.5 SV), to take the top all-around position, 36.575 to 35.925. This was Gerber's first meet as a junior; she is the reigning national and Elite Canada novice champion, while Hopfner-Hibbs was the runner-up to Gael Mackie in the junior division at this year's national championships.

Sports Seneca earned a second podium finish with Aimie Balderian, who took the bronze medal with a 34.150 total. At last year's Elite Canada, Balderian finished third in the novice category. Academy of Sport and Fitness (ASF)'s Marci Bernholtz, one of the few athletes in the competition who is age-eligible for the Athens Olympics, was in good position for a top-three finish until a 7.250 balance beam score marred an otherwise solid effort. Gemini's Kiera Amyot took the highest score of the day on the uneven bars (9.050) to round out the top five.

Rebecca Simbhudas, last year's fifth-place finisher in the junior division, struggled on the day with low start values and a high score of only 8.200 on uneven bars to finish below her potential in 10th place.

Competition for the junior women continues tomorrow with event final competition. The senior women will contest their all-around competition tonight, beginning at 7:00 PM (EST).

Full results of the junior competition are available here.


Alexander Jeltkov

World Championship and World Cup medalist Alexander Jeltkov took a tumble off the high bar and had to settle for fifth on his best event at the World Cup final, which concluded today in Stuttgart, Germany. Jeltkov, the defending bronze medalist on high bar from the 2000 World Cup final, was one of four athletes who committed major errors during their exercises. The Montreal native scored an 8.950, less than sixth tenths from the bronze medal won by hometown favourite Sven Kwiatkowski. Slovenian high bar specialist Aliaz Pegan won gold, followed by Australia's Philippe Rizzo.

For Jeltkov and teammate Kyle Shewfelt, the World Cup brought to an end a very busy competitive year. Both athletes represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Grand Prix circuit, and World Cup final, bringing a total of 12 medals (four gold) home to Canada.

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