A lot of hard work and training has paid off for a Lake Country gymnast.
Lucia Jakab and fellow 10-year-old teammate Gabi Beselt of Kelowna, members of the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre, have qualified to represent B.C. at a Canadian competition in January.
The pair will compete in artistic gymnastics (bars, beam, floor and vault) in the Canadian Pre-Novice Elite division at the National Stream Cup Jan. 17-19 in Montreal.
The girls qualified with their performances at the pre-Christmas North Shore Invitational in North Vancouver.
“The girls train up to 24 hours a week and miss three afternoons of school a week for training,” said Jakab’s mom, Tatiana. “It is a demanding sport that requires dedication and sacrifices.”
Jakab and Beselt have local coaches and two international coaches that dedicate their time and efforts to see the gymnasts succeed.
The Okanagan Gymnastics Centre regularly competes against bigger city clubs like those from Vancouver.
The National Stream Cup is an event that allows women’s artistic gymnasts from all over the country to compete against each other as teams, as well as individuals.
Jakab and Beselt are joined on Team B.C. for the Canadian Pre-Novice Elite division by Samantha Fourchalk of North Vancouver’s Flicka club.
“The cup allows athletes to experience a two-day competition in preparation for the Canadian championships and the Canada Games,” said Tatiana.
Each province can send up to four teams.
The National Stream Cup was resurrected in 2012 after a 10-year absence.
“The cup gives these eight-to-11-year-old athletes a great national competition exposure with experiences in team and individual events at an elite level,” said Tatiana.
Qualifying for a national competition means the girls and their families will have to come up with funds to travels.
While the girls do receive some support from Gymnastics B.C., the expenses far exceed the available funding for this opportunity.
If anyone or any organization is interested in helping the girls out, sponsorships and donations can be made online through a couple of websites — www.makeachamp.com/gabilucia or www.gofundme.com/5tbyq8.