Over 700 of the top young gymnasts in Alberta have converged on Red Deer for this year’s Artistic and Acrobatic Provincial Championships.
The three-day competition is also a test event for the 2019 Canada Winter Games and is being hosted by the Alberta Gymnastics Federation (AGF) and Exelta Gymnastics.
Competitions are taking place at the Collicutt Centre and run from April 13 – 15, with more than 150 coaches and judges in attendance as well.
“We have men’s artistic, women’s artistic and then on Sunday afternoon, we’ve got acro as well, a really big event,” says Jessica Hartel, Exelta Office Manager and Meet Coordinator. “Some of the kids will be qualifying for westerns and nationals at events like this, just an awesome opportunity for Exelta to shine.”
She says the competitors come from all over the province and range in age from six or seven-years-old, right up to 18 or 19.
Hartel hopes the event ultimately rewards the gymnasts for all of their hard work during the course of the year.
“Most of these kids are training year-long, 12 months of the year without any major breaks” Hartel explains. “Some at the holidays but it’s usually a couple of days and they’re right back into training, so just a chance to show that off and really say ‘here is what I’ve been working towards’, whether it’s placing or bettering their scores, just anything, just showing off that they’ve worked so, so hard.”
She estimates about 20 women and five or six boys from Red Deer are competing at the event, with around 150 volunteers helping to make it happen.
“We want to thank all of our volunteers,” exclaims Hartel. “Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to put something like this on. We have key staff members that are here but this is mostly run on volunteer power and AGF too, it was just great collaborating with them.”
Hartel encourages members of the public to check out the competitions, saying it’s a great way to support our local athletes, as well as those from across the province.
Tickets are available for purchase at the door with more information at abgym.ab.ca.
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