Local gymnasts to hit world stage next year

SOUTH SURREY – Five local athletes have been chosen to represent Canada at one of the largest gymnastics venues on the planet. The girls – Natalie Langenhaun, Zara Patel-Thompson, Ruby Sprake and Brynn Munro – are gymnasts at White Rock Gymnastics and will be joining a provincial team to wear Canada’s colours at the 15th World Gymnaestrada, held in Helsinki from July 12 to 18, 2015. They will be traveling to Finland with their families and Jen Smith, White Rock Gymnastics’ recreational director. Smith said this is the first time she’s heard of a team from B.C. representing Canada at a world gymnaestrada, but that these girls were an easy choice to represent the academy.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing. Not a lot of people get to be a part of it. It’s a lot like the Olympics because it only comes around once every four years,” she said. “We chose them because they’re real leaders of our group.”

None of the girls have performed at the international level before, but they have performed at BC Gymnaestrada and will do so again before flying across the Atlantic.

All of the girls have had to make arrangements with their other extra-curricular activities to put aside an extra two hours to practice for the festival.

“I’m really, really excited that I get to have this opportunity to go and represent Canada in Finland,” said Patel-Thompson. Munro added “it’s going to be really fun because I get to go with my three best friends. When I heard, I was really excited, but I was more excited about who I get to go with.” The girls will be performing a floor routine and will be part of the opening and closing ceremonies of the week-long event. The club will be holding bottle drives and selling poinsettias to fundraise to help the girls and their families get to Finland.

kyle.benning@gmail.com

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