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Venezuelan Gymnastics Intensifies Training for Toronto 2015

Venezuelan Gymnastics Intensifies Training for Toronto 2015

Posted by Dubraswka Aguilar on June 23, 2015

Venezuelan gymnasts will be focusing their training in three world cups before participating in Toronto Pan American Games. According to the president of the Gymnastics Federation, Zobeida Hernandez, in the first April week a group of athletes, specialized in eurhythmics and gymnastics, are going to travel to Romania and Italy to attend a world-class event while, in early May another team will be competing in Bulgaria and Portugal.

Depending on the results obtained in those events, 10 gymnasts are going to be handpicked in order to represent the country in Canada and fight for a Pan-American medal. In Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games 2007, Venezuela won one gold medal thanks to Jose Luis Fuentes, in the individual general event.

Two of the athletes that will be doing their best in Toronto sat down with PanamericaWorld and shared their expectations.

Michelle Sanchez: “God willing, I’ll stand among the 3 first positions”

Los Panamericanos son una meta personal para Sánchez; “es la posibilidad de demostrar que tengo calidad”.

The Pan-American Games are a personal goal for Sanchez: “it’s the opportunity to prove my worth.”

She is aware of the strength of rivals from the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, but that won’t stop her from going up for a medal.

Miss Sanchez participated in Guadalajara 2011, where she competed as a team (5 gymnasts with the same routine). “We did well, although we could’ve been better. I had always participated in individual tests and I recognize that competing as a team was difficult for me”, she recalled.

After 17 years practicing gymnastics, Miss Sanchez asserts that it’s a very complicated sport. “You have to be skillful in terms of rhythm, expression and flexibility. I’ve grown confident with the elements, turns and risks (positions). I’m determined to work hard out there, throughout my routine (1 minute 30 seconds), so if I make any mistake I’ll be focused on the next move, instead of the failure.”

The ribbon test is a crucial moment. “There are 6 meters of ribbon to be controlled, so it’s not easy to manipulate. While the ball is more physical, as the eyes of the people follow the gymnast, the ribbons attracts the view due to its elegance”, she pointed out.

When she was asked about gymnastics in Venezuela, Sanchez said that it has made great progress. “Now we have more international judges and the teaching method for girls has been modified so as to improve upcoming generations. Nevertheless, I think that we need more international competitions”, she expressed. Sanchez’s words can be confirmed by taking into account the decrease of international flights in Venezuela, as well as the lack of appropriate assignment of foreign currency to the sports sector.

Grisbel Lopez: “The podium in the all-around event is going to be hard to conquer, but not impossible”

When interviewing this athlete she had come down with the flu, so she couldn’t talk much, but she was in fact training 8 hours a day. “I have to be strong”, she said.

Miss Lopez is 19 years old and she has totally devoted her time to gymnastics, although she’s not ruling out the idea of taking a test at a university in Spain in order to study Physical Education.

Since she joined the national team (at the age of 10), Miss Lopez has conquered titles in A and B children categories, as well as medals in National, Bolivarian and Central American and Caribbean Games.

Besides her charisma when it comes to performing her routine in front of the judges, she thinks that her main weapon is the control of the audience.

As for Toronto, “I’m not going as a team, like in Guadalajara, but individual, so I’m working hard. The trainer has changed the plans from previous years, so we must adapt in order to be better and conquer the judges”, she explained.

Like her teammate, Michelle Sanchez, Miss Lopez believes that the competition is going to be hard due to the quality of rivals from Canada, United States, Brazil and Mexico. “I want to reach the finals, although I know that the podium in the all-around event is going to be hard to conquer, but not impossible. Toronto Pan-American Games are my goal, my objective. So I would be pleased to win a bronze medal, she confessed.

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