Gymnast competes in international competition

Lucia Jakab competed as part of the Team Canada Junior team last week

Lucia Jakab is gaining confidence and recognition with her gymnastic abilities.

The Lake Country gymnast got the opportunity to compete at the national level last week.

While at a training camp for 2020 Olympic hopefuls, Jakab was named to Team Canada West.

Then Jakab’s coach, Sergei Chelest, received a phone call. Jakab would be moving up to Team Canada Junior, where she would be competing at a national level in the 2017 Gymnix competition. Her spot on Team Canada West would be filled.

With the news coming late in the process, the pair had to scramble to get ready. Chelest had to borrow a jacket from another coach and Jakab had to wear another girl’s costume.

“I was really nervous but then I realized, hey, I’m here for a reason,” she said.

As a Team Canada Junior athlete, she competed against teams from the U.S., Russia, Japan and Italy, in Montreal from March 9 to 12.

The Canadian team placed fourth overall with a score of 153.804.

Back home the 13-year-old has a full training regime at the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre in Rutland. She trains for six days a week and enjoys baking and playing with her dogs when she has time.

She remembers always liking to jump as a child. She liked to jump so much once in Winners she knocked over a clothing rack.

After that, she was put in gymnastics.

Her mother, Tatiana Jakab said Chelest thought she was too old to enter at eight, as most gymnasts start training at two or three years old.

“She’s very humble, I don’t think she realizes how good she is,” said Tatiana, adding it was a very emotional experience for her as a mother. “It’s a good experience for her.”

“(After the competition), she finally believed she belonged in high performance,” said Chelest.

Moving forward, even though she has put her name out in the gymnastics world, Jakab will be facing new challenges.

Chelest can see her as an Olympic athlete, but gymnastics “has to be a lifestyle.”

He described gymnastics as many sports rolled into one, and the gymnasts must have a “specific endurance.”

Jakab’s favourite part about gymnastics is the tumbling, which Chelest listed as one of her strengths.

Canadian gymnasts also have to pay for travel to and from competitions, which puts them at a disadvantage compared to other countries.

Jakab will be looking for sponsors for her future endeavors or AirMiles to help with travel. If you are interested in supporting Jakab, she can be reached through the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre at 250-765-0888.

Jakab’s next competition will be at the provincial level in April.

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