Anah Lightbourne and the rest of the team stretches by doing a bridge. The team is preparing for the International Gymnastics Challenge to be held in Bermuda on March 31 at Southside. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Anah Lightbourne and the rest of the team stretches by doing a bridge. The team is preparing for the International Gymnastics Challenge to be held in Bermuda on March 31 at Southside. *Photo by Ras Mykkal

WEDNESDAY, MAR. 28: There’s a quiet hum at the gymnastics training facility in St David’s.

Preparations are in full swing for this Saturday’s International Gymnastics Challenge.

It’s more than a facelift as everything is placed ‘just so’ to host competitors from NYC Elite, Gym Nation (New York) and Gymnastics of York (Pennsylvania) in a first-ever United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs sanctioned meet to be held outside the US.

No, that quiet intensity can also be seen on the faces of Bermuda’s girls as they prepare to do their best in front of the home crowd.

Bermuda Gymnastics Association head coach Duke Nelligan said while the coaches and a few parent volunteers were making sure the gym was looking great for the visitors this past weekend, some of the girls were in there on a Sunday training — voluntarily.

Nelligan said this shows an attitude change that they have a fire to excel.

The timing could not have been better.

The president of the USAIGC will be attending the competition and the gymnasts are using this as a qualifying meet for USAIGC International Championships in Florida in June.

Nelligan said five girls have already qualified and three more were close in the last meet and should be able to reach the needed marks to compete in Florida.

Mandi Baughman, assistant coach who is also serving as the meet director, said: “It is also the first competition that the BGA has hosted in many years, so we are very excited. We have three gymnastics clubs from the U.S. from New York and Pennsylvania. We’ll also have 34 Bermudian athletes.”

International Gymnastics

The beginner and intermediate athletes will compete at 10am, and the advanced athletes will compete at 1pm on Saturday, March 31 at Southside.