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Gillon’s debut golden at Winnipeg meet

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Sydney Gillon’s competitive career got off to an unbeatable start.

The eight-year-old Fort Frances youth, participating in her first rhythmic gymnastics competition ever, overcame her inexperience to grab first place in the Level 1 Child freestyle category at the Rhythmic Royals Invitational in Winnipeg last weekend.

Fort Frances coach Vicki Stinson said while Gillon’s routine wasn’t technically perfect, it was balanced out by an amazing lack of nerves on the newcomer’s part.

“She had a lot of confidence,” added Stinson, whose three-member team all were getting their feet wet in competition for the first time.

“She forgot some of her moves, but she did the best she could. In the end, it was enough,” noted Stinson. “She was pretty excited, especially when she was presented her medal by [2000 Canadian Olympian] Emily Livingston.”

Stinson’s younger sister, Kerri, didn’t make the podium, but the 14-year-old turned in an impressive performance with an eighth-place finish in the Junior Level 5 rope event.

“Kerri showed some excellent poise out there,” said the coach, who decided with her sibling just days before the competition that they would skip taking part in the ball event.

“Now we just have to work on getting her routine cleaned up for the next competition.”

A 12th-place finish by 11-year-old Laura Richardson in the Novice Level 3 freestyle event also had Stinson beaming.

“She did excellent, considering there was a lot of girls in her category,” said Stinson. “All those she was up against had been in competition for a long time.

“But you couldn’t tell it was her first time in competition.”

Stinson added a larger local contingent is expected to attend the next meet, which is scheduled for March back in Winnipeg.

The rhythmic gymnastics club, the only one of its kind in Northwestern Ontario, still is accepting new members. Those interested can contact Stinson at 274-7210.

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