Seven local gymnasts out of Exelta Gymnastics Club are headed to Helsinki, Finland from July 11th – 18th where they will take part in the 2015 15th World Gymnaestrada, a worldwide, non-competitive event held every four years.
The event focuses on participation for everyone regardless of gender, age, race, religion, culture or social standing. This will be the second consecutive Gymnaestrada Exelta has attended, having visited Lausanne, Switzerland in 2011.
Having partnered with a club out of Calgary and Airdrie to field a team of 33 athletes ranging in age from 10-60, the seven local athletes headed to nationals where they qualified for the Gymnaestrada in Helsinki.
The combined central and southern Alberta team worked together to choreograph a 15-minute routine depicting the rise and fall of the people of Alberta in the time of the 2013 Calgary floods.
Exelta Coach Taryn Penrice said the routine involved a lot of different skills including artistic, acrobatic and rhythmic gymnastic skills.
“We wanted to tell the different stories and it focuses on telling the happy-go-lucky nature of Alberta to start with and gets a bit gloomier when the storm hits and everything is shut down, it then goes on to show how the different groups worked together to get things done and all cleaned up and ready to go again.”
Penrice stated the floods were a significant event for members of the club, and one that people throughout the world could relate to.
In preparation for the event athletes practice every Sunday in their individuals clubs, meeting two to three times a month to practice in entirety for a six hour run through.
Last week the Exelta Club’s practice had a special visit from Mayor Tara Veer who wished to bid farewell to the young Red Deerians athletes whose age’s range from 10-16.
“Just have fun, be yourselves, and don’t hold back,” advised Veer who stated she was incredibly proud of the athletes. “It’s your one chance to be in Finland at your age so just go for it – the only person you have to impress with your performance is yourself and you’ve already done incredibly just by making it there to represent us.”
Penrice added while the event is non-competitive it is performance-based and they will have the opportunity to watch some of the best gymnasts in the world perform during their trip to Helsinki.