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Archive: May 2003

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Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique today released the names of athletes scheduled to participate in the upcoming 2003 Pan Ams/World team trials for women, July 12-13 at Toronto's Sport Seneca. The fifteen athletes include:

Melanie Banville, Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Laura-Ann Chong, Omega Gym Academy
Amanda Gering, Champions Gymnastics
Natasha Gowda, Flicka Gym Club
Danielle Hicks, Gemini Gymnastics
Breanne King, Flicka Gym Club
Gael Mackie, Omega Gym Academy
Vanessa Meloche, Sport Seneca
Ashley Peckett, Gymnastics Mississauga
Amélie Plante, Gymnix
Heather Purnell, Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Jennifer Simbhudas, Winstonnetes Gymnastics Association
Richelle Simpson, Nebraska University
Kylie Stone, Stampede City
Lydia Williams, Sport Seneca

A Golf Tournament Fundraiser & Press Conference is also scheduled on Monday, July 14 at the 4 Seasons Country Club, in Claremont. For more information or to register as a golfer for this event please call Jean-Paul Caron at (613) 748-5637 ext 222.


Following the conclusion of this week's national championships in Saskatoon, Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique has nominated 8 gymnasts for a training squad in preparation for this summer's World Gymnastics Championships to be held in Anaheim, California in August. The top six all-around gymnasts from nationals were selected (Richard Ikeda, Grant Golding, David Kikuchi, Rhett Stinson, Alexander Jeltkov, and Kyle Shewfelt as were Casey Sandy (8th place in the all-around as well as the event finals champion in the pommel horse) and Ken Ikeda (9th all-around and the highest scorer on the pommel horse during the all-around competition). These gymnasts will participate in a training camp in California in June, and in July the final team of six athletes and one alternate will be finalized at another training camp in July.

On the final day of competition at the national championships yesterday, six different men's apparatus champions were crowned. Brandon O'Neill took the floor gold over Shewfelt with an impressive 9.75 score. The aforementioned Sandy took the pommel horse title, while Kikuchi won on still rings, Shewfelt on vault, Stinson on parallel bars, and Richard Ikeda on the high bar.

Complete results from the national championships are now available on the results page of the official Canadian Gymnastics Championships website.


Ottawa's Melanie Banville took three first place finishes in the apparatus finals yesterday at the Canadian Championships in Saskatoon. The 15 year old earned top honours on the vault (9.237 average), uneven bars (9.10) and floor exercise (9.725 out of a 10.2 Canadian Models start value). Stampede City's Kylie Stone earned an impressive 9.425 to take the beam title over Banville who finished second with a 9.1. Stone was also strong in the floor exercise and vault, taking home silver on both events with a 9.625 and 9.125 respectively. Thursday's all-around winner Gael Mackie of Omega struggled in yesterday's finals, earning an 8.85 on balance beam to win the bronze - her only medal of the day. Two time world team member Ashley Peckett of Gymnastics Mississauga showed consistent results, winning medals in all three events where she qualified. Peckett finished third in the vault (9.05) and the floor exercise (9.40), and tied for second on the uneven bars with Laura-Ann Chong.

On Friday, national titles were won in the trampoline and tumbling events, and Olympic bronze medallists Karen Cockburn and Mathieu Turgeon took home first place in the individual trampoline events. Cockburn earned 108.60 points to win her sixth consecutive national title. Heather McManus finished second with 103.20 followed by Brenna Casey who took a close third with a 102.60. Following Turgeon in the men's results was 17 year old Bryan Milonja, who edged out veteran and defending champion Michel Greene for the silver medal by a three point margin (108.80 to 105.80). In men's double mini tramp, Milonja defended his title, taking first place ahead of Adam Menzies and Denis Vachon. Vachon also took home the men's tumbling title ahead of Cole Roycroft and Cletus Okpoh. Sarah Charles took home the women's double mini trampoline title, with Julie Warnock taking second and Sarah Caruso third. Emily Smith won the senior women's tumbling competition, followed by Neisha Davis in second and Lyndsay Hebert in third.

In the junior women's apparatus finals Friday, all-around silver medallist Aimie Balderian of Sport Seneca dominated by taking three gold medals. Balderian won the same two events she had won earlier in the season at the Canada Winter Games (balance beam and floor exercise) as well as the vault event. All-around champion and Balderian's club teammate Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs took home the remaining gold medal on the uneven bars.

Full results from most of the sessions can be found at the official Canadian Championships website. Results of the men's apparatus finals in artistic gymnastics are not available at this time.


Mackie swings to gold
in Saskatoon
Photo by Grace Chiu

The Canadian Championships saw the greatest of contrasts in its senior men's and women's all-around competitions yesterday, with the oldest man and youngest woman taking the titles. In the men's competition, long-time veteran and former Olympian Richard Ikeda of Abbotsford, B.C., defended the title he won at last year's championships. At 28 years of age, Ikeda showed no signs of slowing down last night, claiming the victory over Grant Golding, 107.650 to 106.780. Alta's David Kikuchi, the leader after day one of competition, slipped to third (105.600) after a stumble on the floor exercise. Rhett Stinson overcame troubles with the pommel horse to take fifth overall, while Alexandre Jeltkov and Kyle Shewfelt rounded out the top six. Last year's junior national champion, Adam Wong impressed with a stable and consistent performance for seventh.

In the women's event, which was settled after just one round of competition, 14 year-old Gael Mackie (left) had her best performance of the year to take the title over Ottawa's Melanie Banville in a closely contested dual, 36.625 to 36.400. Stampede City's Kylie Stone took the day's highest score on vault to finish just behind Banville with 36.375. A low score on the uneven bars cost Seneca's Lydia Williams, but solid scores on the other three apparatus helped earn the Toronto athlete fourth place overall. British Columbia's Breanne King continued her steady success this year with a fifth place showing, while two-time world championship team member Ashley Peckett had a respectable return to all-around competition for sixth.

Complete results are available at the official 2003 Canadian Nationals website.


Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs took the Canadian junior women's title last night at the Canadian championships in Saskatoon, SK. Hibbs, who was second in the junior division at last year's championships and first as a novice two years ago, took the title by nearly two points over Seneca club mate Aimie Balderian 37.35 - 35.40. Balderian actually outscored Hibbs on three events (including the top scores of the night on beam and floor, with a 9.525 and 9.55 respectively), but it was Hibbs' excellence on the uneven bars that made the difference, scoring a very strong 9.35 - a full point higher than the next highest scorer on the event. Gemini's Brittnee Habbib took third, highlighted by the best vault score of the night (9.225), making it a medal sweep for Ontario.

The senior men's and women's all-around titles will be decided tonight. While the women will have one round of competition to decide their champion, the men have already competed one night of competition on Tuesday, with Nova Scotia's David Kikuchi taking the early lead. Kikuchi, a member of the 2001 World Championship team, is currently leading defending men's champion Richard Ikeda of B.C. by a score of 53.75 to 53.15. Home province favourite Rhett Stinson made an impressive return to all-around competition following a knee injury two years ago to finish third after night one, five tenths behind Ikeda, with a score of 52.65. Rounding out the top six thus far are Quebec's Alexander Jeltkov in fourth with 52.45, and Albertans Grant Golding and Kyle Shewfelt in fifth and sixth respectively with 52.30 and 52.175. Such close scores (only five tenths separating ranks three through six) should set up an exciting final tonight.

Individual highlights for the senior men so far include a top score of 9.55 on floor exercise by Alberta's Brandon O'Neil (who only competed on his best events, floor and vault), a 9.3 on pommel horse from all-around leader Kikuchi (a score matched by B.C.'s Ken Ikeda, Richard's younger brother), a 9.45 on rings from 2002 world team member Brett Covey, a 9.775 on vault from Shewfelt (out of a 10.0 SV), a 9.5 on parallel bars from Stinson, and a 9.8 on high bar from Jeltkov (the highest score of the day on any event).

Canada Games champion Nathan Gafiuk of Alberta currently leads the junior men's event, with a score of 50.00. In second so far is B.C.'s Matt Beiler (47.35) followed by Alberta's Patrick McElroy (46.95).

Competition has also taken place in other artistic disciplines, as well as trampoline and tumbling. For complete results, check out the official 2003 Canadian Nationals website.


The current and former Canadian champs experienced great success in Bulgaria at the Julietta Shishmanova Tournament this past weekend. Ontario's Alexandra Orlando placed 7th overall in a competitive field, while B.C.’s Olesia Zakon achieved 22nd in one of her first major international meets as a senior. Orlando’s teammate, Mary Sanders, who now represents the USA, won five medals in total; the gold in clubs, silver in ball, and bronze in the all-around, hoop, and ribbon. Orlando also competed strongly in finals; earning two sixth place finishes in hoop and ball.

Domestically, regional qualifying championships were held in Regina and Montreal. The top ten plus two per province in each category earn a place at the National championships, which will be held in mid June. Full results are available at RGC.ca's message board, but for now here are the top three finishers in each category:

Eastern Regionals

1.Anastasia Podolioukh Etobicoke (ON) 38.883
2.Kelsey Titmarsh Kalev (ON)37.433
3.Nicole Kushevsky Kalev (ON) 36.334

1. Ariana Shaw Seneca (ON) 60.133
2.Natalya Murzenko Kalev (ON) 58.134
3.Jacqueline Man Ritmika Jusco (ON) 57.167

1. Rosanna Tso Burlington (ON) 65.0490
2.Anastassia Fomina Rythmic Quebec (PQ) 64.8830
3.Y.-A.Guertin Questo (PQ) 63.8157

1.Kelly Brack Seneca (ON) 65.4993
2.Kathryn Whitemore Seneca (ON) 58.466
3.Sara-Lina Wing Questo (PQ) 52.7657

Western Regionals

1. Nerissa Mo Club Elite (BC) 41.450
2. Tiffany Chu Club Elite (BC) 38.300
3. Rylee Haubrich Okanagan (BC) 34.575

1. Semetra Mantcheva Aura (BC) 62.050
2. Bao Bao Dou Club Elite (BC) 62.000
3. Ekaterina Yakubovich Aura (BC) 57.300

1. Brihana Mosienko Academy (BC) 64.825
2. Lauren Yates Chinook (AB) 64.650
3. Frances Wu Academy (BC) 59.775

1. Camille Nerman Aura (BC) 67.850
2. Rachel Lam Club Elite (BC) 67.825
3. Kathleen Lindstrom Edmonton (AB) 67.700


Melanie Banville
6th on FX

The Canadian women's gymnastics team had a successful outing at the Achtlandentoernooi (eight-country) women’s gymnastics competition, held this weekend in Groningen, Netherlands. The women placed sixth in Saturday's team competition, paced by Lydia Williams' 35.525 eighth-place effort. Williams' four-for-four effort was highlighted by a 9.275 on beam, which qualified the Toronto native to event finals in third place.

Williams was supported by solid efforts from teammates Melanie Banville, who finished 12th with a 35.000 score, and Kylie Stone, who scored 34.225 for 15th. Gael Mackie and Ashley Peckett each filled in as specialists - Mackie on bars, beam, and floor, and Peckett on vault.

The team event was won by Romania with a 111.025, followed by Australia (107.950), who upset the host Dutch team (107.750) for second. Spain's Elena Gomez won the all-around title, followed by Romania's Monica Rosu, and France's Marine Debauve.

In today's event final competition, Williams and Banville both placed sixth on their respective events, beam (8.525) and floor exercise (8.825). Stone finished 8th on vault with a score of 8.888.


Canada got one of its first looks at men's rhythmic gymnastics last May, when gymnasts from Japan's Kokushikan University Rhythmic Gymnastics Club convened at the 2002 Pacific Alliance Championships (see photo, left). Inspired by earlier exposure to the sport, and the demo performances at the Pacific Alliance Championships, Mario Lam of Vancouver started actively promoting the sport in Canada.

Japan plans to host the first Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics International Competition this November, and have been providing expertise to countries that are committed to participating. Under the guidance of Japanese coach Kazuki Mamorita, and help from Katherine Campbell of Cartwheels Inc, 10 boys have been assembled to participate in what's being termed "MartialGym" in Canada. Two or three of the athletes are expected to be sent to compete in Japan this November. For a report of Canada's efforts to date, please visit Mario Lam's progress update. Lam's site also has links to a men's RG code of points, mpegs, and explanation of common moves.

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