SLEMON PARK – It’s been a big month for the Summerside Saultos Gymnastics Club.
Two weeks ago, nine Level 2 girls from the club participated in their first international meet called Gymnix 2014 in Montreal, Que. Now, it’s the boys’ turn to gain some international experience at the University of Calgary invitational meet this weekend.
“In the senior category, there are some guys from the United States, China, Russia, etc.,” explained Jeff MacRae, head coach of the Saultos’ boys program. “In the lower categories, which our guys our competing in, it’s guys from across Canada.
“It’s one of the bigger men’s meets in Canada.”
Tanner Clow, 11, of Summerside and 12-year-old Nicholas Handrahan of Tignish will wear the Saultos’ colours in Calgary. They will be joined by MacRae, and the trio was scheduled to travel to Calgary on Thursday.
“They (Clow and Handrahan) are both provincial Level 3 category (gymnasts), and have been members here at the Saultos for three years,” explained MacRae. “They have come along well the last three years.”
As has the boys’ programs with the Summerside club. There are currently over 40 boys registered with Saultos’ programs, compared to just three only three years ago.
Clow and Handrahan will compete in all six Olympic events – floor, pommel horse, vault, rings, parallel bars and high bar – on Saturday.
“They have been competing for the three years they have been here, and this is their biggest meet for sure,” said MacRae.
Have there been any goals set for Clow and Handrahan in Calgary?
“We’re hoping they go out and compete their best, don’t fall in any of the events and can get some personal bests,” answered MacRae. “We are definitely expecting to place in some events.”
Being a competitive gymnast requires a lot of dedication along with countless hours of hard work.
“They (Clow and Handrahan) currently train 11 hours a week,” said MacRae. “They train three days a week – two days for 3 1/2 hours and one day for four hours. They are in the gym quite a bit.
“They are both in Grade 6, and it’s quite a time commitment, especially for Nicholas, who drives an hour down and an hour back. They are doing quite well.”