Youth Olympic Games slots at stake in 4th Asian Trampoline Championships
HIGHLY-COVETED slots to the 3rd Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina this October will be up for grabs in the 4th Asian Senior and Junior Trampoline Gymnastics Championships opening on Saturday at the University of Makati basketball gym.
Three YOG slots each in the boys and girls divisions, respectively, will be at stake fin the two-day competition organized by the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the City Government of Makati.
“This international gymnastics event is important since the Asian juniors is a YOG qualifying competition so we can expect the best young trampoline athletes from all over the continent coming over to take part in this tournament,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion stressed of the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Gymnastics Union.
Apparently serious in making a 1-2-3 sweep in both divisions, China, which took a gold and silver medal in the 2014 Nanjing YOG, is fielding four entries apiece in the individual boys and girls events of the meet also supported by the Makati city government headed by Mayor Abigail Binay.
A select group of 12 athletes from all over the world will be competing in the Youth Olympic Games scheduled Oct. 6 to 16 in Argentine capital.
Not to be outdone, Japan, which garnered a girls silver medal from Rana Nakano in Nanjing four years ago, is also sending four athletes each in both brackets in what looms as a two-way dogfight for top honors in Asian trampoline championships.
Carrying the Philippine colors in the juniors event are a promising pair of young trampoline athletes in Shane Francis Peralta and Fiona Mae Ventenilla, both 16, according to national coach Ryan Rexel Fabriga.
“At 16, both Shane and Fiona are still young but they have improved a lot since we got our trampolines in November and started training for this event seriously last January, “ Fabriga, a two-time gold Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in men’s diving, said.
“I started drilling them on the basics of trampoline jumping so they will have a solid foundation and don’t have to go back once we raise the difficulty of their skills,” Fabriga said. “As long as they execute well what they have learned I will be satisfied with that.
“Alam kong mahihirapan kami pero makikita ng mga bata kung saan sila kailangang mag-improve kasi malalakas ang kalaban.”
Representing the country in the seniors event are Deorelar Francisco and Benjamin Jesus Mendoza, a dformer men’s artistic gymnastics athlete, in the men’s division and Erin Abaniel in the women’s division.
“We know are going up against tough opposition in both the senior and junior divisions of the tournament but we certainly won’t go down without a fight, especially performing in front of our countrymen,” PH delegation head Evan Alvia noted.
Also seeing action in the competition are trampoline campaigners from Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, whose delegations are expected to arrive today (Thursday).