The trinidad Guardian / Five Tots and Tumblers gymnasts will head off to Colombia next month for an inter-club competition that will prove pivotal to their young careers. It’s well known, gymnastics is a sport for young bodies, and it’s a race to the top to see how fast one can get there in their youth. The team will include Karessa Kirton, Amelia Ahwai, Adriana Housty, Sidney Charles, and Zara-Marie Glen, some of the brightest juniors at the club.

“I’m nervous because I’ve never been on a big international stage before so it’s new for me,” Housty, who is a level eight gymnast, said. However, she’s looking forward to it to grow her experience ahead of future meets.

Under their coach Clifton McDowell, who is the head coach at Tots and Tumblers, the ladies go through their routines repeatedly, be it floor, beams or bars. It is a process of patience, until the coach tells them they have gotten it absolutely right. But though McDowell is pushing them, it’s now all about winning for him.

“Right now, what we are more focusing on is getting the routines ready with the requirements they have. It is basically to see where we match up with the other kids around the islands. We don’t have much competition in Trinidad for these kids,” he said.

Interestingly enough, Housty and Ahwai, when asked how far they’d like to go in the sport said, right now they’re aspiring for collegiate gymnastics. Most athletes target the Olympic Games and forget about the steps to climb to get there. This minor inter-club competition will prove an important step to any progress they make. “I think we spend a lot of hours every week, countless hours. It’s a lot of dedication and hard work that we put in to these sessions to get it to where we need to be,” the level nine gymnast, Ahwai said.

With a month to go to the meet, the athletes’ confidence is slowly rising, but the uncertainty of what they will face is perhaps the biggest challenge. Ahwai said, “It has been a challenge to meet the expectation but once we keep practicing, we’ll get there.”

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