Cardiff resident training for provincial gymnastic qualifiers 0
Cardiff resident Madison Gates, right, balances on a beam with gymnastics coach D'Anna Millar at the Bancroft Gems facility in Bancroft. Fifteen year old Gates is training for the provincial qualifiers, set to take place this fall and winter throughout Ontario. ANGELICA BLENICH/HALIBURTON COUNTY ECHO/QMI AGENCY
As a young girl Madison Gates didn’t know how to walk.
Instead the Cardiff resident would flip, twirl and bounce.
It seemed only natural for Jennifer Boone-Gates to enrol her daughter in gymnastics, a sport she has thrived in.
In the coming months Madison, 15, will be competing for a spot at the provincial championship.
A member of Bancroft Gems Gymnastic club, Madison has been coached by club owner D’Anna Millar since she started.
“There are 10 levels of gymnastics, nine of which are competitive. The girls competing in the Olympics are basically at a level nine or a 10. When you get halfway through to level five, that’s when you can start to go into the provincial level,” explained Millar.
From November to next February, Madison will be competing in three qualifiers held across Ontario. If she is successful she will move on to the artistic gymnastics finals in Windsor next April, hosted by Gymnastics Ontario.
“They take the best two scores out of the three qualifiers and if you make it into the top 32 of your age and level, then you go to the provincial finals,” said Millar.
Those who are successful at the finals go on to compete in the Canadian championships, according to the coach.
Millar has been operating her gymnastics club in Bancroft since 2008, in two different locations.
“I moved up here, planning to retire from gymnastics after a 20-year career, but I couldn’t get away from it,” she said.
Originally from Toronto, Millar brought gymnastics to the area by offering it after school at North Hastings High School, where Madison began at the age of 10.
“A friend of mine suggested I enrol my kids in gymnastics,” said Boone-Gates, who now has all three of her daughters in the club.
The extra-curricular activity seemed like a natural fit for Madison, her mom said.
She recalls family and school trip photos where Madison is doing a handstand in front of the Parliament building or other landmarks.
Nowadays Madison trains at the gymnastics club four times a week, with each session lasting a couple of hours.
A student at North Hastings High School, she devotes much of her spare time to gymnastics and misses it when she’s off for the summer.
“This is a girl who a day or two after the break in June is asking if she can start again,” said Boone-Gates.
In addition to training, Madison is an assistant coach at the club.
During the qualifiers Madison will be competing in the all-round category, completing routines in the uneven bars, vault, spring floor and the balance beam.
The thought of competing leaves her feeling “scared, but excited,” she said.
Millar feels the same way.
“This will be my first time coaching a provincial athlete,” she said.
Millar is expecting the gymnast to have some jitters during her first try at provincials, but knows Madison will do well under pressure, as she has won medals in previous inter-club competitions.
While Madison is unsure how far she will go in the competitive world, she’s happy to have made it to this point.
The road to provincials will be a costly one, with Madison’s family having to cover the competition fees, travel, training and clothing costs.
During the next few months Boone-Gates is hoping to organize various community fundraisers to assist Madison’s journey to provincials.
Those interested in supporting Madison can contact Boone-Gates at email@example.com or Millar at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 613-332-6100.