Tram­po­line gym­nas­tics re­turns to spot­light

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By JOAQUIN M. HEN­SON

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.

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