Trampoline gymnastics returns to spotlight
Not too many fans know that trampoline was introduced as an Olympic sport in gymnastics in 2000 with two gold medals at stake, one in the men’s division and the other in the women’s. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus took the men’s gold while Rose MacLennan of Canada hit paydirt in the women’s category.
China, Japan and Kazakhstan were the only Asian countries with entries in the men’s division of 16 competitors in Rio. Uzbekistan joined China and Japan in the women’s division with 16 contestants. China bagged a silver and bronze in men’s and a bronze in women’s to stamp its class as Asia’s best in the event.
The trampoline was introduced as a training tool for astronauts and athletes in 1934. It eventually became a competitive sport under gymnastics. Athletes perform acrobatics on a trampoline with a variety of jumps in the straight, pike, tuck, full-flip and straddle positions or complex routines such as forward or back somersaults or twists. Scoring is based on degree of difficulty and how long a jumper is able to suspend himself or herself in the air. Deductions are made for poor form or horizontal displacement from the center of the bed.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) president Cynthia Carrion is at the forefront of campaigning for awareness of trampoline gymnastics as a sport and Filipinos will get a rare opportunity to witness high-quality jumpers in action at the fourth Asian Senior and Junior Trampoline Gymnastics Championships at the University of Makati gym tomorrow and Sunday.
Some 100 athletes from 10 countries are performing in the two-day event organized by GAP and supported by the PSC, Department of Tourism and the Makati City government led by Mayor Abigail Binay.
“We are delighted to host this huge Asian gymnastics event and would like to thank the Asian Gymnastics Union (AGU) for allowing us to conduct this competition featuring the best trampoline athletes in Asia,” said Carrion, a member of the AGU Executive Board, POC Board and SEA Games Federation council. “We welcome the best trampoline athletes from Asia to this event which is also one way of promoting and popularizing this fast-growing sport worldwide in our country.”
The 10 Asian countries participating in the Championships are powerhouse China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, India, Iran, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. The event has an interesting sidelight since the Asian Juniors event will serve as a qualifier for the third Youth Olympics set in Buenos Aires in October.
Aspiring for slots in the coming Youth Olympics are Shane Francis Peralta in the boys division and Fiona Mae Ventenilla in the girls. They will be joined in the Philippine contingent this weekend by senior athletes Francisco Deorelar and Benjamin Jesus Mendoza in the men’s division and Erin Abaniel in the women’s. Heading the Philippine team is Normita Ty, wife of the late national gymnastics standout and coach Santiago Ty. Coaches are Rexel Ryan Fabriga and Liwliva Peralta. Fabriga, 32, is a former national diver with four gold medals from three SEA Games and represented the country in the 10-meter individual platform event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.