Vernon’s Kelsey Anderson went to Canadian Individual Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships with one goal in mind – to earn a spot on Team Canada at the World University Games.
After performing clean routines for a ninth-place finish in Ottawa, Anderson, 20, got her wish, earning a ticket to the Games, July 6-17, in Kazan, Russia.
A veteran of the event, Anderson, who attends Okanagan College, travelled to Shenzhen, China for the 2011 Games where she placed 29th overall.
“Kelsey is an outstanding example of perseverance and commitment,” said Camille Martens, Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics coach and former Olympian.
“She has worked with consistent determination and drive to push through so much. In a sport where athletes often leave long before their prime, it is a privilege to work with an adult athlete so focused on continuing to grow. Her artistry, dance, risk and skill level have all improved. Competing on a world stage among the very best will be incredible for her.”
A total of 12 gymnasts will wear the Maple Leaf in Kazan, including five in women’s artistic, five in men’s artistic and two in rhythmic.
The artistic competition is set for July 7 to 10, with rhythmic following from July 14 to 16.
The Canadian roster is highlighted by a pair of 2012 Olympians, including Ellie Black, a Dalhousie University student from Halifax on the artistic side, and Kelsey Titmarsh, a Ryerson University student from Thornhill, Ont., in rhythmic events.
Anderson joins Titmarsh and team leader Tatsiana Kastsenkava on the rhythmic roster.
Rounding out the women’s artistic lineup are Erica Devereaux of Logy Bay, Nfld., Sarah Flett and Natalie Gervais, both of Winnipeg, and Mackenzie Itcush of Calgary. They will be accompanied in Russia by coaches David Kikuchi and Jeremy Mosier, as well as team leader Rachelle Valel.
The men’s artistic squad is comprised of Evan Cruz of Halifax, Tariq Dowers of Mississauga, Ont., Aiden Marsden of Edmonton, Cory Paterson of Oakville, Ont., and Joshua Stuart of Richmond, B.C., who will perform under the leadership of coach Christopher Foo and team leader William Greg Jackson.
Canada will compete at the Universiade in women’s artistic gymnastics for the first time since 1999. Over the years, Canadian women have won two medals at the FISU Games, both in 1983 in Edmonton, when Anita Botnen merited bronze at the balance beam and was also part of a third-place finish in the team competition.