Team Canada adds Mac ‘ringer’ for student games

McMaster’s Kevin Lytwyn has been selected by Canadian Interuniversity Sport to Team Canada to represent Canada in men’s artistic gymnastics at the 26th Summer Universiade in August in Shenzhen, China.

Lytwyn, an engineering student from Stoney Creek, captured the rings title at the 2011 Canada, USA, China meet and racked up three medals at a World Cup in Montreal in 2010 including the rings crown.

Canada will participate in artistic gymnastics for the first time since 2005 in Izmir, Turkey. Brandon O’Neill of Edmonton claimed gold on floor exercise six years ago to give Canada its sixth all-time medal (men or women) in the sport at the world university games and its second gold (Philippe Chartrand, high bar, 1983).

In addition to Lytwyn, the 2011 contingent is comprised of Nathan Gafuik of Calgary, Jayd Lukenchuk of Saskatoon, Jackson Payne of Edmonton and Casey Sandy of Brampton.

Gafuik and Sandy return from the 2005 Universiade squad. Gafuik was the alternate at the time and did not compete, while Sandy placed fifth in the individual all-around competition and helped Canada to a fourth-place finish in the team tournament.

Gafuik, an Athabasca University student, had an impressive showing at a 2010 World Cup event in Croatia where he took the vault title and captured silver on high bar.

Sandy, who now attends Seneca College, is a former NCAA team champion with Penn State University (2007). He claimed the high bar title at the 2011 senior national championships in Charlottetown and took bronze on pommel horse at the 2011 Canada, USA, China Three Way Competition in Calgary.

Lukenchuk, a University of Saskatchewan student, is a former individual all-around junior national champion (2007) and a silver medallist on vault at the 2011 senior Nationals. He placed 12th on floor exercise at a World Cup in Glasgow in 2010.

Payne, also an Athabasca student, is the reigning all-around, floor and pommel horse national champion, and won the rings event at the Canada, USA, China rendez-vous.

Coaches Liang Cheng of Edmonton – a native of Wenzhou, China – and Mitsugu Ikeda of Abbotsford, B.C., as well as therapist Karie Farrer of Vancouver round out the Canadian artistic gymnastics delegation.

In women’s rhythmic gymnastics, Kelsey Anderson of Vernon, B.C., and Jessica Ho of Vancouver will wear the red and white uniform. Canada’s lone Universiade medal in the sport came in 1991 when Susie Cushman finished third in the clubs competition in Sheffield, England.

Anderson, an Okanagan College student, took 10th place in individual all-around at the 2011 national championships in Montreal.

Ho, a University of British Columbia student who was born in Hong Kong, barely missed the podium in the same event at the Nationals finishing in fourth position. She claimed individual all-around silver at the 2009 junior national championships.

Anderson and Ho will be coached in Shenzhen by Camille Martens of Vernon and Dajana Kosarac of Vancouver, respectively.

The artistic gymnastics competition in Shenzhen will run from Aug. 13-16, while rhythmic gymnastics events are scheduled from Aug. 20-22.

The Summer Universiade is an international multi-sport event that takes place every two years and is second only to the Olympic Games in the number of participating athletes and countries. The Universiade is open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.