Ja's gymnasts take positives from failed qualification bid at PanAm Champs in Colombia

By May 29, 2023
Jamaica's artistic gymnasts (from left) Tyesha Mattis, Kiara Richmon and Mya Absolam share a photo opportunity during the just-concluded PanAm Championships in Medellin, Colombia. Jamaica's artistic gymnasts (from left) Tyesha Mattis, Kiara Richmon and Mya Absolam share a photo opportunity during the just-concluded PanAm Championships in Medellin, Colombia. contributed

Despite failing to secure qualification to the Pan American (PanAm) Games nor the World Championships, Jamaica's artistic gymnasts Tyesha Mattis and Kiara Richmon took heart from their respective performances at the just-concluded PanAm Gymnastics Championships in Medellin, Colombia. 

Mattis, Richmon and newcomer Mya Absolam, all produced credible showings in a highly competitive environment at the three-day championships which ended on Sunday but were unable to break into a coveted top 12 position.

The England-born Mattis, who was Jamaica’s standout performer at last year’s event when she qualified for the World championships, expressed some disappointment that she wasn’t able to repeat the feat, as she was firmly set on getting to the PanAm Games in Chile and the World Championships in Belgium, later this year.

She placed 32nd overall with an all-around total of 44.500, after scoring 12.867 on vault, 10.533 on uneven bars, 10.733 on the balance beam and 10.367 for her floor routine.

"I was happy with parts of my performances, but I felt like I put a little bit too much pressure on myself to qualify and so I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to,” Mattis said shortly after competition.

However, the 24-year-old did find a few positive takeaways that she hopes to improve on ahead of next month’s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador, when she is next expected to parade her skills for the island.

“I managed to complete a 2 1/2 twist off beam again after not putting that out in competition for over four years, so I am super proud of myself in that regards as I am proving to myself that I can do more than I am limiting myself to,” she reasoned.

“I am more than capable, and I just need to trust that my body can do the work and again, not putting too much pressure on myself. I work so hard in the gym and when I really wanted to put out my best, I made a couple mistakes.

“But I have to remember I’m only human and I can learn from some of my mistakes and so I am really looking forward to a better performance out in El Salvador in a couple weeks. Looking forward to trying some different routines there and putting out more of my skills as I know I have so much more up my sleeve and the more I compete internationally, the more confident I feel,” Mattis added.

For Richmon, who placed 36th overall with an all-around score of 42.866, just being able to represent Jamaica at the event, represents a remarkable achievement and another significant milestone in her budding career.

Her total includes score of 11.100 on vault, 10.233 on the uneven bars, 10.400 on the balance beam and 11.133 for her floor routine.

“I feel like I did my best with my performance at the championships, especially being that I only had two weeks to prepare. So, I am definitely proud that I was able to hit all four apparatus and getting to be here with the team,” Richmon shared.

With this being her first elite outing since 2019, the 21-year-old Fisk University student is eagerly looking forward to continuing her journey, as her unwavering determination, relentless work ethic and immense potential positions her as one of country’s gymnast to watch.

“It felt amazing, and this performance will definitely serve as motivation for me going forward, I just need to just trust my training and do not over work myself. I also need to have more confidence and belief in myself and hopefully on my next competition I can produce a stronger performance with cleaner routines,” the US-born Richmon said.

Meanwhile, Absolam, another England-born gymnast, had an all-around total of 39.533, after scoring 10.333, 10.033, 8.600, 10.567, on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor, respectively. She placed 42nd overall.

On the male side, Canada-born Elel Wahrmann-Baker, was Jamaica’s top performer, placing 27th overall, with an all-around total of 72.301. Wahrmann-Baker had scores of 12.767 on floor, 13.067 on the pommel horse, 11.067 on rings, 13.100 on vault, 13.133 parallel bars and 10.167 on high bar.

Caleb Faulk placed 29th overall with scores of 12.300, 10.900, 12.400, 12.767, 11.9667 and 11.667 for an all-Around total of 72.001, while Matthew McClymont tallied 63.165 for 47th overall. His scores include 12.233, 9.133, 7.533, 12.733, 10.800 and 10.733.

Jamaica’s other representative Michael Reid only took on the pommel horse and parallel bars where he scored 11.933 and 12.467 for a total 24.400.

 

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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    Subs not used: Lysianne Proulx, Sabrina D'Angelo, Olivia Smith, Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Evelyne Viens, Christine Sinclair, Simi Awujo, Bianca St-Georges 

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    Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

    Assistant referees: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA); Felisha Mariscal (USA)

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    Match Commissary: Techell McLean (SKN)

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