By Riley Hill
The University of Calgary Gymnastics Club announced plans last week to host an elite gymnastics competition called the University of Calgary International Cup. The competition will be held on campus March 21–23, 2014.
According to chief advisor of the U of C Gymnastics Club Tony Smith, the event will bring world-class gymnasts to Calgary while increasing the profile gymnastics has in the city.
“The intent, of course, is to bring international gymnastics to Calgary and at the same time give our own national-team athletes a domestic opportunity to compete against international teams,” Smith said. “It’s a very high level and there are very few gymnastics now going on at the U of C.”
The UCIC will feature international elite gymnasts, both male and female, from disciplines ranging from floor exercise to the pommel horse.
Male athletes will compete in the senior division, which is for athletes 18 and over, while the female athletes will compete in the junior division.
Smith said one of the reasons for the new competition is to increase the calibre of female gymnasts who train in Calgary for the senior level, as the city lacks local talent suitable for international senior competition.
“We’ve had a lot of really good athletes here on the senior men side, but we’ve had a tough time in the past attracting a good women’s program,” he said. “That’s where a big focus for this competition is going to come. We really need to open the eyes of the Calgary community and the gymnastics programs within Alberta as to what the best level is and what we have to start striving towards.”
The U of C Gymnastics Club is a sports club on campus that runs one of Canada’s few centres where Olympic gymnasts train.
The club is still organizing which athletes will compete in the event.