One medal won, and a lifetime memory and experience captured.
Local Canadian Olympian, and head coach at Vernon’s Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, Camille Martens led a team of Canadian hopefuls to a large international competition in Tbilisi, Georgia.
More than 200 athletes from 10 countries competed at the New Look International Cup event Nov. 1-3. The team travelled early for a training camp to work alongside Olympian and world star Salome Phajava and her coach, Eliso Bedoshvili, and were also inspired by stars from Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Noelle Brierley, 11, won the silver all-around medal for young gymnasts and was the winner of the Judges’ Choice award from more than 100 athletes.
“I was really surprised that city and buildings were so different than ours,” said Brierley. “I went to gain experience and learn more and I definitely did that. I’m still surprised that I won the silver medal from so many amazing girls.”
Ashlyn Andreotti, 14, has already represented Canada in Greece, Estonia and Portugal and was thrilled to add this experience to her list. She finished fourth overall in her age group and had personal best scores in all events.
“I loved being in a different gym and training with athletes from different places and seeing how they work,” she said. “I was surprised to get such high scores and place so well so early in the season.”
For Madeline Sellars, 13, this was her first international event.
“The biggest impact for me was seeing gymnasts from different places and noticing how they moved and used space differently,” said Sellars. “Watching some of the best ones who were so powerful even in the tiniest movement inspired me to work on that. For my first international event, I am really happy with what I learned and with how I performed.”
The Vernon team was joined by Canadian judge Diana Zoe Coop and two senior athletes from Vancouver, Nicol Tilman and Karen Salazar.
Martens was proud of her team
“This trip gave me many reasons to be proud of these Vernon athletes,” she said. “They did an outstanding job of representing Canada with quality, class and passion. The feedback from coaches and judges was consistently so positive. We all gained knowledge and perspective and are looking forward to putting our learnings into action. It was an incredible kickstart to the season for our team.”