A Sicamous gymnast is working towards her gold medal goals, inspired by her mother’s passion for the sport.
Sarah Kyllo, the district’s deputy corporate officer, used to compete in gymnastics competitions as a child, having to travel to Kelowna four times a week to train for the competitive level.
Today, her daughter Siddhalee Kyllo-Martselos, 8, is also training and competing in the sport, but she is able to train in Salmon Arm.
Kyllo-Martselos has been practising gymnastics since she was two years old and most recently competed at the Compulsory B.C. Gymnastics championships in Langley, April 21-23. The rush of competition has inspired her to work harder towards her Olympic dreams, she said.
Last year, Kyllo-Martselos started competing in the Canadian Competitive Program (CCP) Level 2 category and now she is in CCP Level 3.
In Level 2, gymnasts all receive either a bronze, silver or gold medal, explained Kyllo, but in Level 3 they begin to compete against other athletes.
“Vault and bars is my favourite part because that was my best event at championships and because I got second place,” said Kyllo-Martselos, adding she wants to make it to the Olympics one day.
She has friends that train at the same gym she does, Momentum Gymnastics in Salmon Arm, and is excited to keep practising with them.
Asked why she loves gymnastics, Kyllo-Martselos shared the reason for her motivation: her mom.
“I got inspiration from my mom because I’ve heard a bunch from my nanny about how my mom used to do flips on the dock at the marina,” said Kyllo-Martselos as her mom listened, smiling. “I just want to be like my mom.
“But the one thing is that I started way younger than her. She was like 10 when she started.”
The young gymnast is excited and ready for the three upcoming competitions she has lined up: the Grizzly Classic, hosted by Kelowna Gymnastix in Kelowna May 12-14; June 2-4 is the Fun in the Sun competition in Kelowna hosted by Synergy Gymnastics; and then Kyllo-Martselos returns to Kelowna once more for the Ogopogo Invitational at Okanagan Gymnastics Centre June 9-11.
Kyllo said the idea of her daughter competing feels full-circle to her.
“When I started training, Shawnee was one of my coaches and Shawnee is the head coach here now,” she said, referring to Shawnee Venables, owner and head coach at Momentum.
“Shawnee was coaching in Sicamous in my day. We used to have a club there but it was just done out of a school, so we had roll-up mats and parents and volunteers would set everything up and take it down.
“It was a non-profit group, but this just didn’t exist when I was younger. It’s amazing Shawnee has this space now and that she’s able to provide this opportunity for young girls to pursue competitive gymnastics.”
There was once a banner hanging at the club Kyllo competed with in Kelowna, the Okanagan Gymnastics Club, celebrating her B.C. Championship win from when she was 13.
Kyllo-Martselos’ coach, Meaghan Kujat, recently returned to Salmon Arm after being away at school in Edmonton, and said she is always excited to return to help her hometown teams.
“Seeing these girls has been great,” said Kujat. “I always get clobbered with hugs whenever I come into the gym, which is awesome, and they’ll show me all their new skills.”
Kujat has coached Kyllo-Martselos since she first started gymnastics.
“She was in my bronze bouncers’ (beginner) class and I just remember she was a ball of energy. She joined competitive and I don’t know, I was like, ‘this is it.’ This is perfect and then she took it from there. It just feels like I’m back in with them, like I didn’t miss any time.”
Kujat said she is proud of Kyllo-Martselos and her classmates,saying they’re ready for the rest of competition season.