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Before the Pan American Games in July, I wrote about the gymnasts from Caribbean islands who were competing in Toronto. Now, with the World Championships beginning this week in Glasgow, another look at the gymnasts bringing a taste of the islands to Scotland.
BAHAMAS — Kianna Dean, Simone Hall
The Bahamian elite gymnastics team isn’t brand new, but it’s pretty close. In fact, this past summer was the first time the Bahamas sent a gymnast to compete at a major international competition. That gymnast was Kianna, who trains at Park Avenue Gymnastics in Florida.
In preparation for her scheduled international competitions this year, Simone has been training at Arena Gymnastics in New Jersey since January. She had planned to go Pan Ams with Kianna, but unfortunately couldn’t due to an ankle injury. She says despite the injury not being fully healed, she will compete in Glasgow.
CAYMAN ISLANDS — Morgan Lloyd
A 2014 Youth Olympic Games competitor, Morgan is making her senior Worlds debut in Glasgow. Fun fact: she started gymnastics at the age of 1, following her older sister into the gym.
CUBA — Dovelis Torres, Marcia Videaux
Over the summer, there were rumors that the gymnast who had been the lead gymnast for Cuba over the past few years, Yesenia Ferrera, had been dismissed from the team for unconfirmed reasons. With the news that she will not compete at Worlds, those whispers appears to have been validated.
Marcia and Dovelis will try and fill the space that Yesenia has vacated in Cuba’s first World Championship appearance since 2003. Pay special attention to Marcia, who won the vault gold at Pan Ams and is a contender for the event final at Worlds.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — Yamilet Pena
I really would love to enjoy watching Yami because she has an engaging personality, but the way she executes her Produnova makes me nervous for her knee and ankle health every time. She’s been training at U.S. club Excalibur in Virginia (former gym home of Gabby Douglas) since before the Pan Am Games, where she won the vault silver behind Videaux of Cuba.
JAMAICA — Danusia Francis, Maya Williams, Toni-Ann Williams
Invasion of the collegians…well for 2/3rds of the team at least.
UCLA standout Danusia is from England and competed for Great Britain for several years. She switched country affiliations to pursue some unfinished elite business. Unfortunately, she will be competing with a fractured rib sustained in a training accident a few weeks ago. Also of note, Nush has a chance to get a skill on beam named after her, if she decides to compete the skill.
Toni-Ann attends Cal, where she finished a very successful freshman year in the spring. It’s Toni-Ann’s third World Championships, but this time she gets to share the experience with her younger sister, Maya.
PUERTO RICO — Andrea Maldonado, Paula Mejias, Paola Moreira
The undisputed leader of this team is Paula, who had a very successful lead-up to Worlds. She regrouped after some disappointment at Pan Ams in July and showed what she was capable of at the Osijek World Challenge Cup in September, winning the vault and floor titles.
As for her teammates, it’s been a little while since we’ve seen Andrea. Her most notable result to date was as a junior. She finished 2nd on floor to the now retired Victoria Moors at the 2011 Puerto Rico Cup. Paola, like Morgan Lloyd, competed at last year’s Youth Olympic Games and is making her big senior debut in Glasgow.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO — Marisa Dick, Thema Williams
This summer, native Canadian Marisa got the opportunity to perform in front of her home country crowd at Pan Ams for her the country she represents for elite competition. For Worlds, she’ll team with native Trinidadian gymnast, Thema. Thema has been training in the U.S. for over a year at Twistars USA, the former gym of Olympic champion Jordyn Wieber, in pursuit of her Olympic dream.
Photo Credit: 2015 World Gymnastic Championships Glasgow Committee Twitter Feed