Morning Star Staff
Members of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club have been blazing trails through Europe.
Jaedyn Andreotti, a Grade 8 VSS student, flew to Russia to compete at the Junior Alina Tournament at the Moscow Grand Prix.
“There, where the history and the future of rhythmic gymnastics collide, she performed to enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowds, earning a personal best overall score and her first-ever apparatus score over 13 points (scores are out of 20),” said head coach Camille Martens.
For Martens, the trip was nostalgic since she had not been back to Russia since training there prior to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
“The event was exceptional. The magnitude of gymnastics there is just a completely different machine,” she said.
“For Jaedyn, competing with complete expression and without any drops to a full stadium, that had TV cameras everywhere, is an outstanding accomplishment.
“She came off from her routines glowing, having truly embraced and enjoyed the experience. As a coach, that joy alone made the trip worth it. Her climbing results, multiple personal bests and international attention were the icing on the cake.”
In both junior and senior, the event was dominated by the Russian, Belarusian and Israeli teams.
“I loved seeing the best in the world and being right there with them and look forward to doing in again” said Andreotti.
Then after only two weeks at home, Andreotti was off again, this time joined by teammates Isabella Haldane and Megan Hamilton in Athens, Greece at the massive Aphrodite Cup.
More than 400 gymnasts from 26 countries attended the competition, including a large Canadian contingent.
Haldane, a Grade 7 Kidston student, rose to the occasion of her first overseas International and finished eighth in the Junior A category.
Andreotti completed consistent routines yet again and was surprised to finish as the top Canadian Junior ahead of Canadian star Alexandra Shtrevensky (ranked first in Canada).
The senior competition was strong and there were four Canadian seniors there who came in ranked ahead of Hamilton.
Her energetic, difficult and consistent routines earned her top marks, including her first score over 14 points, and she finished 15th overall. Hamilton, who is a Grade 11 VSS student, was the top Canadian finisher and earned personal bests in three events and overall.
“Seeing these young ladies shine on the international stage is such affirmation for the work we are doing,” said Martens.
“They are diligent, driven and hard -working athletes pushing each other towards greatness. Watching them focus on possibility and then seeing them truly show the work to the world is exciting. I’m so proud of our team.”
Opportunities were earned at the 2016 Elite Canada, which was a National re-ranking event held at the Richmond Olympic Oval in February.
The Okanagan’s RG STARS were represented by four junior and three senior athletes, all of whom performed exciting individual routines with the rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. In Junior (ages 12-15), Andreotti earned Western Canada’s highest spot (5th overall), while first-year junior, Haldane was hot on her heels taking eighth.
Both girls earned places on the Junior Canadian National Team Pool. Emmalee Holland finished 29th and Meagan Lightfoot, at her first ever National ranking event, took 40th.
In Senior, Hamilton, now a third-year veteran of the Canadian National Team, shone again. Her best events were the Hoop and Ribbon (finished seventh).
“She has a bit of a nervous start, but it was enough to earn her a coveted spot on the Senior Canadian National Team Pool and claiming ninth overall in the final,” said Martens.
Lake Country’s Tessa Rohatensky finished 28th, while Leah Defeo, first time National level senior, finished 24th.