MANILA, Philippines – With proper training, nurturing and motivation, the new crop of Filipino artistic gymnasts can rise up to the next level and become world-class athletes in the not too distant future.
This was the consensus of Carol Orchard and Jeff Thomson, two Canadian International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) instructors, who recently conducted an FIG age group coaching camp for local coaches at the GAP gym inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“Your gymnasts have the skills, ability and build so I don’t see any reason why you cannot be competitive at the world level,” said Orchard, who has been a coach and instructor for over two decades, in the send-off dinner organized by the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines last weekend.
“You don’t have to come from the US, China or Russia to be a good gymnast,” noted Orchard, who coached Canada’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs who won a bronze medal in the balance beam of the 2006 world artistic gymnastics championships.
“What is also vitally important is that your youthful gymnasts are properly motivated,” she added.
Thomson, who is also an FIG judge, echoed Orchard’s sentiments.
“Your young gymnasts show a lot of promise and just like what Carol said, given the right training and motivation they can go far.”
Both of them also praised the cooperation, attitude, enthusiasm and attention that the Filipino coaches and gymnasts showed during the five-day camp.
“You knew that they were really interested in what we were teaching by the way they asked questions over the duration of the course and workshops,” Thomson said. “It would be cool if we had reception like this wherever we go.”
“The response by your coaches and gymnasts here has been simply overwhelming. It has been an enjoyable time for both of us and Jeff,” Orchard said. “I wish we had the same response as this in Canada.”
GAP president Cynthia Carrion also thanked Thomson and Orchard for lending their experience and expertise to the Filipino coaches.
“I hope they (the coaches) meet the challenge of boosting the development of our young gymnasts with the new knowledge and techniques that they learned from the course,” Carrion said.
“This camp is all part of GAP’s vision to raise the standards of local gymnastics where we can really be competitive in international competition,” she added.